McLean soccer defeats Herndon in first round of districts

Boys varsity soccer team advances to regionals

The McLean boys soccer team defeated Herndon on May 16 in an intense match with a 3-1 victory. With the win, McLean will now advance to the district semifinals and secure a spot in the regionals tournament.

The game started off slow as both teams were evenly matched in the first half of the game. With an enthusiastic crowd and a fierce determination, McLean made multiple attempts at scoring throughout the first half, but the Herndon team fought back and made efforts to score as well.

“Going into the game I had some nerves, but had full trust in the team’s ability to be calm and win this game,” senior left back Nick Wanke said. “We are looking to improve on starting our season strong. This game, we were asleep in the first 20 minutes and it almost killed us.”

Both teams ended the first half tied 0-0, but the second half turned the tide for McLean.

“I think we did well in taking a game that was out of control and turning it into the simple game we know how to play,” Wanke said.

As halftime came to a close, the McLean boys returned to the pitch with high spirits and worked to keep the ball on Herndon’s side. Their work paid off when McLean took a corner kick, and sophomore forward Caf Eaton scored the first goal of the game.

“The highlight of the game to me was the first goal by Caf,” senior captain Will Mahoney said. “He worked his tail off all game and had missed a few chances, so I thought it was awesome to see him earn that goal from sheer hard work and determination.”

The fight was not over as Herndon scored a quick goal, bringing the game to a tie at 1-1. The deadlock was only broken by a penalty kick for McLean, which was called from a foul on freshman forward Joseph Margita in the closing minutes of the game. Senior Jalen Holliday scored the penalty, bringing McLean to a 2-1 lead.

“I think the highlight of the game was Jalen absolutely hitting that penalty in the last minutes,” Wanke said.

Margita then came back to score the next goal for McLean, which was the last goal of the game for either side. His goal sealed the match with a 3-1 victory, and the team now moves on to the district semifinals, where Washington Liberty will test their strength once again.

“Our last game of the regular season, W-L came back to beat us,” Mahoney said. “I’m looking forward to ruining their perfect season. We took the L last time so it’s time to take a W.”