Woodbridge handles depleted Spartans

WOODBRIDGE — In recent years, Woodbridge and West Springfield have developed one of the best girls soccer rivalries in the state. They met again on Friday night, but this one wasn’t quite the same.

With seven visiting West Springfield regulars suspended for alcohol-related rules violations, Woodbridge eventually coasted to a 3-0 victory. Seniors Liana Wooten and Kara Frederick and junior Lindsey Pendergraph scored goals for the Vikings, who were playing their first in-state game of the season.

“We definitely like to start out our year with a bang,” said the Virginia-bound Frederick. “Unfortunately that wasn’t the case this year [because of West Springfield’s suspensions], but they did well. They did a good job at sweeper and at penetrating runs up the center.”

With senior Jen Woodie leading the defense and keeper Katie Kerr making four saves, Woodbridge (2-2) was rarely threatened. The Spartans (0-2) had lost 4-0 to Chantilly as 11 players were suspended in their season opener.

Woodbridge took 28 minutes to score the game’s first goal, but it had the better of play from the outset. Wooten scored the first goal off a Rebecca Mumley assist, beating a familiar foe in the process. West Springfield’s goalkeeper, Sarah Flanagan, played against Wooten’s team last month as the Spartans’ girls basketball squad won a Group AAA state semifinal game. West Springfield later lost to Princess Anne in the state basketball final.

In 2000, the Spartans’ soccer team lost 5-3 to Woodbridge in another state-championship game. Wooten scored three goals as the Vikings won the title matchup. Then, West Springfield opened the 2001 season with a 5-4 win over Woodbridge.

The depleted West Springfield team, which is expected to be within one player of full strength in its next game, couldn’t match that kind of firepower. It fell behind 2-0 fewer than three minutes after Wooten’s goal, when Frederick took a pass from Teresa Powers and finished the opportunity.

“That was beautiful,” Frederick said. “It was a perfect pass at a perfect pace. I didn’t have any trouble with it at all because of the service.”

Pendergraph added an unassisted second-half goal as she rocketed a shot from Flanagan’s right side in the 75th minute. Forty seconds earlier, West Springfield’s best chance of the game fell by the wayside as Woodbridge’s Jessie Cole contested a header from Heather Haupt.

Woodbridge coach Mike Yeatts said he was pleased with his team’s improved fitness, but that plenty of work remains.

“We’re trying some new things, taking some time to redevelop our chemistry,” said Yeatts, whose team reached the regional semifinals last season. “We brought five players back onto the team and on top of that, we have some new players.”

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