InsideNova, Sports

Brentsville Girls Soccer Captures Second Straight State Class 3 State Title

Team members stepped up to replace last season's top players

Nothing was a given this season for Brentsville High School's Girls Soccer Team.

Yes, the defending state champions returned the Class 3 player of the year in leading scorer Peyton McGovern. And they also returned their stalwart backline.

But they also lost key players for various reasons that put into question whether Brentsville could repeat as state champions. 

After trailing 1-0 at halftime, Brentsville (19-2-1) rallied for a 2-1 overtime victory Saturday over Western Albemarle at Monticello High School.

Facing a team that had handed the Tigers one of their two losses this season, the Tigers battled back behind two goals from McGovern.

The senior converted a penalty kick with six minutes left in regulation to send the game into overtime. The Florida State signee then scored off a 30-yard shot in the first overtime for the game-winner, her 32nd of the season.

"Last year, it felt good [to win]," said Brentsville head coach Scott Kerns. "This year feels so much better with the amount of talent that left us."

Four of Brentsville’s top six scorers last season were not on this year's team. Two transferred (Valentina Nardone to Virginia Academy and Chloe Layne to Patriot). Another (Payton Brown) chose to focus on basketball. Finally, Maddie Howells had surgery in December for a torn ACL and was out for the season.

"Last year, we felt comfortable that we were the best team," Kerns said. "This year, our girls had to work so hard. They grinded it out ... I feel so happy for those kids. This was a totally different season."

Kerns said Western Albemarle had "the better play" for most of the game between the two teams.

But Brentsville hung tough on defense led by goalie Haley Garber and defenders Kyla Kaczmarczyk, Emma Cornwell centerbacks Madilyn Rolader and Savannah Vonderhaar.

"[Western Albemarle] didn't create a lot of chances, but our back four were incredible," Kerns said. "They were under so much pressure."

Reese Natysin did a little bit of everything for Brentsville Saturday. The junior, who was first-team all-state as a defender in 2023, was moved up to midfield midway through the season to provide a spark for the offense.

She did just that against Western Albemarle, setting up both of McGovern's goals.

On the first, Natysin dribbled into the penalty box, where was taken down by a Western Albemarle player. The foul provided the penalty kick.

In overtime, Natysin fed McGovern, who blasted a shot that went into the upper right corner of the net.

In addition to helping to generate offense, Natysin played a big role on defense, marking Western Albemarle's star Reese Mattern, who has committed to Tennessee.

McGovern, meanwhile, continued to show why she's one of the best soccer players to come out of Prince William County.

Like she did a year ago when she weaved her way through seven defenders to score the lone goal in the 2023 state final win over Lafayette, McGovern, the program's all-time leading goal scorer, delivered in the clutch again Saturday.

"The kid's just magic," Kerns said.

GET MORE LOCAL NEWS. Sign up for free e-mail alerts from INSIDENOVA

Bristow Beat has a content-sharing agreement with InsideNova. This article remains under the copyright of InsideNova. 

Brentsville, girls soccer, Brentsville Girls Soccer Team, 2024, State Title, Class 3 state title, Scott Kerns, Peyton McGovern, Payton Brown, Maddie Howells, Brentsville District High School, soccer, Haley Garber, defenders, Kyla Kaczmarczyk, Emma Cornwell, centerback, Madilyn Rolader. Savannah Vonderhaar. Nokesville, Reese Natysin, first-team all-state as a defender, Monticello High School, Maddie Howells, Valentina Nardone, Chloe Layne