Warriors Outlast Blacksburg for State Championship

After eighty minutes of regulation and four five-minute overtime periods, the Western Albemarle and Blackbsurg boys soccer teams were knotted at 2-2 and headed to penalty kicks in the 3A state title game.

Western senior Forrest White had a chance to win the game on a penalty kick in overtime, but the ball sailed over the goalpost. Later, he would get a second chance at a game-winner.

During penalty kicks with the teams tied at 6-6, Western goalkeeper Al Luna made a save, his second during PKs. White was up next for the Warriors, with a chance to seal the win. This time, he didn't miss.

White buried the ball in the right corner of the net, sealing a 7-6 win in PKs and giving Western Albemarle its first boys soccer state championship since 1996.

"We finally did it, knew we were capable of it, but it's always hard to actually get there," he said after the win. "We've had to go through plenty of good teams. It's just a great feeling."

Senior midfielder Michael Nafziger scored both of the Warriors' goals in the game. Nafziger broke a scoreless tie in the second half with 33 minutes to play. Blacksburg answered with two goals, the second of which game with seven minutes left in the matchup.

With time running out, Nafziger saved Western's title hopes, sending a ball past the Blacksburg keeper in the right corner of the net.

"I remember beating the guy, taking a look at where I wanted to hit it," Nafziger said of his second goal. "I could feel that I hit it well. It wasn't quite in the corner. I thought the keeper might get it but it just blew right past him."

The win capped off an unbeaten season for the Warriors that also featured conference and region titles.

"It was intense, it was drama, each team had swings in momentum, and nobody would give up," Western coach Paul Rittenhouse said of the game. "That's really what we expected from Blacksburg. I mean they're to be applauded for that. That was hard fought to the very, very, very, end."

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