SALEM — Katrine Berg has been preaching all year about the importance of ending the season with a bang.
The Western Albemarle senior forward completed her mission Saturday afternoon as the Warriors’ girls soccer team defeated Brentsville District 3-1 in the VHSL Class 3 state championship game at Spartan Stadium.
Julia Berg, Katrine Berg and Kate DeJong, three of Western’s four seniors, netted goals in their final high school game to secure the Warriors’ third straight state championship.
“We’ve been such a close team all year and this has been our goal,” Julia Berg said. “Our mindset was to win states for the third time in a row and we did that. It feels incredible and it’s so surreal. I wouldn’t have wanted to do it with any other team. It was amazing.”
After dealing with sickness the past two days, Julia Berg was unsure that she’d get a chance to play Saturday. She joined the warm-up line just before kickoff, but took her normal role in the lineup.
“I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to play today because I didn’t feel that well this morning,” Berg said. “But I wanted to give it a go. It was my last game ever in high school and I just wanted to play some minutes if I could and I ended up with a goal.”
Berg’s return to the lineup was rewarded 10 minutes into the game when she scored off a beautiful cross from Erin Meier on the right wing.
“My thought was don’t shoot it at the goalie, but place it right and it went in,” Berg said. “I couldn’t have done it without [Erin]. She was amazing.”
Western Albemarle added to its lead just before halftime on a rebound goal by Katrine Berg. Ellie Cox beat Brentsville District goalkeeper Emily Cipolla to a loose ball in the box, but Cipolla managed to stop the initial shot. The ball fell at Berg’s feet and she calmly tapped it into the back of the net for a 2-0 lead with 8:22 left.
“It’s incredible,” Berg said. “We’ve had such a great season and I think all the effort we put in today has really paid off and it was pretty cool to see the outcome.”
The second half was more of the same as DeJong got her name on the scoresheet off a set piece. Meier took the corner kick from the right post and curled the ball just in front of the goal and DeJong got her head on the ball and placed it in the back of the net for a 3-0 lead.
“It was absolutely amazing,” DeJong said. “Being on defense, there aren’t a lot of opportunities to score. That set play was a perfect opportunity. The cross in was amazing and I couldn’t have asked for a better setup.”
Brentsville District finally broke through in the final five minutes of the game on a 25-yard strike from Catherine Frost to close out the scoring.
The victory marked Western Albemarle’s fourth state championship in girls soccer since 2002.
“I think this one has to be the most special because it is our last season,” Katrine Berg said. “It’s a bittersweet ending. I’m going to be sad that it’s ending, but I’m also very happy because it couldn’t have ended on a better note.”
DeJong won her sixth state title as a student-athlete at Western Albemarle, including three track titles. The senior said the feeling is very special
“If you had told me four years ago that we would walk away with three state championships in soccer and three more in track as well, I think I would’ve been blown away,” DeJong said. “It just shows the level of coaching and the level of support we have at our school and I’m so appreciative of all of that. I love this team so much.”