The Riverside Rams kept their undefeated season going Thursday with a 7-0 home victory over Briar Woods in the Region 5C field hockey tournament championship game in rain-drenched Lansdowne.
The Rams won their second consecutive regional championship and improved to 19-0 in their first season at the Class 5 level.
“This is huge. Our first season we were 3-13, and we only had one person who’d ever played field hockey before,” Riverside head coach Amy Oldknow said. “It’s just nice to see we’re getting better and better every year, and that we’re maintaining that. They’ve worked so hard.”
Crisp passing among Riverside’s potent offensive front of Gurnoor Dhaliwal, Lydia Oldknow and Eva Yacura gave the Rams two goals in the first 10 minutes, and a 4-0 lead by halftime.
“We passed as a team, worked well as a team, came out and played Riverside hockey,” said Oldknow, who authored three goals on the night. “This was really big. As a team we’re excited to come this far and be second-year region champs.”
It was more of the same in the second half. Yacura, Oldknow and senior Amelie Fieser put it in the net, all assisted by the junior Dhaliwal. Fieser scored her goal by whacking a deflected pass out of the air and into the net with a baseball-style swing.
Five of the Rams’ seven tallies were assisted, with Dhaliwal picking up four.
“We’ve been working all season on fine-tuning our passing and using everyone,” Amy Oldknow said. “We carried the ball nicely up the field, gave give-and-goes, and it was crisp and it was good.”
Briar Woods (10-9) turned its season around after opening with a 1-5 mark. The Falcons defeated Potomac Falls and Stone Bridge to advance to the regional final.
Senior captain Kyra Vlassis said her team’s perspective changed after that, resulting in greater on-field success.
“It was a rough start,” she said. “But we started to bond and really came together in unity as Falcons.”
Both the Rams and the Falcons earn berths in the Virginia Class 5 state tournament. Briar Woods opens with a road contest at Region 5D champion Mountain View, while Riverside stays home to host Region 5D runner-up Stafford.
The state quarterfinals are slated for Nov. 12, but the Virginia High School League may move up those games to Nov. 11, due to expected inclement weather.
Riverside 7, Briar Woods 0
R: Gurnoor Dhaliwal from Kellen Richbourg (28:00)
R: Lydia Oldknow (20:17)
R: Eva Yacura (8:05)
R: Lydia Oldknow from Gurnoor Dhaliwal (1:43)
R: Eva Yacura from Gurnoor Dhaliwal (26:30)
R: Lydia Oldknow from Gurnoor Dhaliwal (25:03)
R: Amelie Fieser from Gurnoor Dhaliwal (18:43)