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Piranhas Advance To Playoffs
Defeat Impact 2-0 in weather-shortened game

Fredericksburg Impact News Release - www.fasasoccer.org

Sunday, July 15, 2012

FREDERICKSBURG, VA.
— With the remaining playoff spot in the W-League’s Eastern Conference still up for grabs, the Fredericksburg Impact needed two things to go in their favor: a positive result and the weather. Unfortunately for the Impact (6-4-2, 20 points), the final whistle blew just 55 minutes into the contest and Fredericksburg had neither the desired result nor cooperative weather it had hoped for. What they did have, however, was a 2-0 weather-shortened defeat to the Virginia Beach Piranhas and third place in the Atlantic Division.

The win earned the Piranhas (6-3-3, 21 points) the fourth seed in next weekend’s conference playoffs and a date with the top-seeded and Atlantic Division champion D.C. United Women.

“We put ourselves in a bad spot going down 2-0 early, which shouldn’t have happened. We came out flat, which was unfortunate,” Impact coach Jen Woodie said. “It’s on us. It’s disappointing yes, and we didn’t come out and play our game from the start, which has been our achilles heel in a few games this season.”

After nearly an hour delay due to lightning, Virginia Beach controlled most of the possession in the early going and eventually capitalized in the 14th minute. Emily Kittleson found space just outside the penalty area and laced a shot into the upper left corner of the net, just beating Impact keeper Melissa Pacheco for an early 1-0 lead.

As Woodie urged her team to play a more attacking style, Missy Wycinsky began to find limited room on the right flank. In the 34th minute, Chelsey Haney found the end of a Wycinsky cross, but her header fell into the hands of Piranhas goalkeeper Marbel Egwuenu.

The momentum would not last, however.

Moments later, Virginia Beach found the back of the net again. Esther Anyonwu redirected a cross from Yasmin Bunter under Pacheco in the 36th minute, giving the Piranhas a two-goal advantage.

Shortly after the second half resumed, the officials removed both teams from the field due to more lightning that was spotted in the area.

With this second delay and the delayed kickoff, light was also becoming an issue to completing the match as the University of Mary Washington’s Battleground Stadium does not have lights.

Despite the loss, the Impact did win the Commonwealth Cup—a competition between the league’s Virginia-based teams that also includes Northern Virginia. Winning the cup in just the team’s second season showed vast improvement and potential for Woodie.

“We’re more than deserving to represent the state of Virginia as being the best team. It’s an honor,” the coach said. “It’s not where we wanted to end, but it was a bright spot for the team. That’s something we can hold high and use as motivation heading into next year.”

With the season coming to a close, Fredericksburg eagerly anticipates next summer’s campaign. The immediate future, however, will focus on the retention of players.

“Trying to get our core players to return, that’s the thing I want for next year,” Woodie said. “We have a group of people who play well together and really care about each other, and we’re starting to hit our stride.”

For now, though, the Impact will look back on the franchise’s second season and wonder what could have been if the last 35 minutes had been played.

“We’ll never really know,” Woodie said.

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