The Highlander

Varsity Soccer recap: girls shine, boys fall flat vs. Langley

Both McLean soccer programs continue their interesting seasons with cross-town rivalry games

Nick Monroy, Features Editor

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McLean’s girls varsity soccer team poses after defeating the Langley Saxons 1-0. The rematch will take place May 1 at McLean High School. (Photo courtesy of Greg Miller).

With the spring soccer season in full swing, it is only fitting that both the boys and girls varsity teams had their first benchmark games under the Friday night lights against their heated rivals last week as the McLean Highlanders took on the Langley Saxons.

Both games took place on Friday, April 6th, with the girls playing first. After a sloppy first half in which the Highlander were able to put very few shots on goal, the girls managed to break the deadlock midway through the second half when freshman forward Ragan Hurd headed in a cross by senior midfielder Natalie Ruffner. This would be the only goal scored in the contest as the Highlanders were able to defeat the Saxons 1-0.

This was even made more impressive by the fact that junior midfielder Kendall Robertson and senior defenders and captains Kimberley and Elizabeth Zhou, all of whom are starters, did not play. This allowed for many of the younger players to step up in key roles, as well as give many juniors the opportunity to be leaders of the team.

“We are very excited about how we’ve been playing so far,” junior defender Lindsay Blum said. “We played as a family out there and were able to get a team win. The confidence that comes from that is unimaginable.”

This game was critical for the girls varsity team as it continues their upward trend and reaffirms their status as one of the elite teams in the Liberty District. The Lady Highlanders post a record of 2-1-1 and remain undefeated in district competition. With that newfound boost of confidence they look to remain that way heading into a week of games against the Herndon Hornets and Thomas Jefferson Colonials, as well as against the Washington-Lee Generals next week.

We need to play like every minute out there is our last.”

— junior Henry McQuail

While the girls soccer team remains in high spirits, the same cannot be said for the boys team. Going into the game without a single win, the boys looked to turn their fortunes around against a Langley side that is weaker than it has been in previous years.

At the beginning of the game, things looked promising for the Highlanders as senior James Bradley opened up the scoring for the boys and gave them an early 1-0 lead, but as the game progressed the Saxons continued to dominate the Highlanders on the ball and put up more shots than even the experienced and usually superb junior goalie Carter Robertson could handle. While the boys put up promising numbers, with two more goals from junior Justus Porter and senior Chris Schram respectively, it was not enough as the Highlanders fell 3-4 to the home team Saxons.

This marks the 4th consecutive lost for the Highlanders and another week without a check in the win column for the squad. The team showed flashes of promise during the preseason by tying a strong Patriot High School team and defeating the Marshall Statesmen, but the early magic has yet to translate to games with significant meaning and weight heading into May.

With this not being the start to the season that many anticipated, it puts the boys soccer team at a crossroads for the season. “I think we need to start playing with heart,” junior defender Henry McQuail said. “We need to actually be impacted by the outcome of the games, we need to play like every minute out there is our last.”

Both teams will have the opportunity to play the Saxons one more time at home, before the regular season ends. That game, at McLean, will be the one played for the coveted Rotary Cup, which the girls have not lost in five years, and the boys have not won in three.

As the season progress, there in room for clear improvement for both teams and eyes turn to district matchups, and ambitions switch to deep playoff runs that McLean has not seen in several years.

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