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BOYS SOCCER: Warriors end Blue Devils’ run

AMHERST—Sometimes, Culpeper soccer senior Tanyon Lee explained, the other team is just better.

“I don’t know how to get around that,” said Lee after the Blue Devils fell 6–0 to Western Albemarle on Friday in the 3A state tournament semifinals. “You have to go through that in life sometimes. People are better than you. Teams are better than you.”

Culpeper’s second straight trip to the state tournament ended on the turf at Amherst High School after a barrage of second-half goals turned the Warriors’ 2–0 halftime lead into a rout.

Forrest White scored twice—the first on a penalty kick in the first two minutes of the second half—and Chase Stokes, Colin Moore, Josh Dusci and Micheal Nafziger also had goals for Western Albemarle, which will meet Blacksburg in today’s state championship game.

Stokes’ goal came about midway through the first half on a short pass from Tyler Ferguson that split the defense, giving the Warriors a 1–0 lead.

Western (23–0) dominated possession throughout and didn’t give up a single quality chance for Culpeper (14–6).

Dusci had perhaps the best-looking goal for Western, heading in a long free kick from White with 26:20 to play. And Nafziger made it 6–0 less than a minute later to cap the scoring.

“It’s so annoying watching the ball go back and forth and you can’t get to it,” said Lee, after 80 minutes of chasing the ball through long strings of Western possession.

It was the second straight lopsided loss for the Blue Devils (they fell 3–0 to Kettle Run in last week’s 3A East championship game) and a disappointing way to end the season. But Culpeper coach Shaun Summerscales didn’t dwell on that in the postseason huddle with his team.

Instead, he reminded his 14 players—10 of whom are seniors—to focus on the positives of their time with the Devils.

“That’s what I told them at the end. It’s a tough way to have things end,” he said, “but this isn’t going to be what you remember. Let the other things be the ones you remember.”

Lee, who will play at the University of Mary Washington next season, agreed.

“We’re all brothers and we just lived soccer together,” he said. “We were always talking about it, the games going on, our games, how they went. We just lived the soccer life. We’re all going to miss it for sure.”

Senior Jacin Smith has been the goalie for this Culpeper run to two straight state tournaments, perhaps the best stretch of boys soccer in school history. He’s also played with many of his Blue Devil teammates in the offseason.

Like Lee, Smith said this final chapter wouldn’t be how he chose to remember his time at Culpeper.

“We’ve been playing together for six or seven years,” Smith said. “For it to all end is just crazy. We’ve had a lot of success with our travel team and with the high school. It’s hard to believe it’s over.”

And no, this last loss wouldn’t erase those years of fun and success.

“No, no, no,” said Smith, shaking his head. “I’ll take the good [memories] with me, without the bad.”

Justin Rice: 540/368-5045