The two 2016 Group 4A girls’ soccer finalists were scheduled to meet again as the paper went to press this week. Salem hosted Loudoun County on Wednesday at Spartan Field in a game that would end the season for the loser.
Last year’s game ended the season for both, because it was the state final at Liberty University. Loudoun County won that game, 1-0.
This year, the two rivals are the second and third seeds in the region. Salem is second with a 13-1-2 regular season record and Loudoun County is third at 13-2-1. The top seed went to 15-1 Jefferson Forest, who was scheduled to host John Champe Wednesday night.
If Jefferson Forest won Wednesday, the Cavaliers would host the Region 4A West championship this Friday. However, if the Cavs lost then the Salem-LC winner would get to host John Champe. Both teams who make it to Friday are in the state, which will be held in Salem this year, most likely at Roanoke College.
“I don’t mind playing Loudoun County at this point,” said Salem coach Josh Jones prior to Wednesday’s game. “We can get them out of the way if we win, and we get to play them on our home field.”
Salem won the Region 4A West championship in the rain at Spartan Field last week, taking a 2-0 win over William Byrd. It was the third consecutive Conference 24 championship for the Spartans.
The game was scoreless at the half, then Conference 24 Player of the Year Evyn Magenbauer broke the tie on a free kick with about 30 mintues remaining. Morgan Brooks added an insurance goal three minutes later off an assist from Shelby Marlman.
The game was played in various states of rain, and Salem rained 19 shots on the Byrd goal. Salem goalie Katie Evans stood in the rain all night without having to make a save.
The win earned the Spartans a Monday night home game against Kettle Run, and Salem took a 4-1 win in that one as Rachel Massey scored two goals. Ellie Laub and Mallory Edwards had one goal each and this time Evans had to make eight saves for the Spartans.
With the win Salem is now 16-1-2 overall.