Varsity boys soccer dominates in season opener

Highlanders emerge victorious in blowout win over Centerville

McLean races across the field, swiftly avoiding Centerville’s attack.

On March 13th, McLean Varsity Soccer went neck to neck with the Centerville Wildcats, this electrifying match marking the first of their spring season.

As the game got off to a challenging yet steady start, it was clear that anticipation hung in the air.

Both teams seemed to be evenly matched, neither being able to hold an advantage on the field for long.

Despite many attempted shots by the Wildcats, the Highlanders’ defense stayed strong, quickly pushing the ball back into their area of control everytime it exited.

With less than twenty three minutes left in the first half, McLean junior Caffrey Eaton slid in and swiftly scored the first goal of the season.

It was clear that the sudden change in the scoreboard elevated the energy surrounding the stadium, providing a rush of heat to the game even through the frigid cold weather.

Although there were multiple good efforts and near misses from both sides, by the time the first half came to a close, the score still stood 1-0 with McLean in a narrow lead.

Once the second half had begun, the sunlight had dimmed while the tensions on the field rose, Centerville becoming antsy at their lack of goals and reflecting it through their increased aggression on the field. McLean, however, persisted and succeeded in holding them back and keeping the ball in an area of dominance.

Eager to level the scoreboard, Centerville continued to up their offense, giving McLean a run for their money.

Less than fifteen minutes into their last half, a Centerville player in trying to free the ball from the Highlanders’ hold, took sophomore Ada Karatepe to the ground with a hit in his back.

The clock stopped as coaches ran onto the field, ensuring that no serious damage was done.

Although the collision seemed painful, Karatepe recovered and got cleared to play later on.

This minor setback, however, did not hinder the Highlanders as before one could blink, McLean made another clean shot, further increasing their lead 2-0.

Just as McLean was soaking in their advance, Centerville raced up the field, scoring the first shot of their own.

While an eruption of cheers from Centerville’s players rang around the stadium, Coach Leland emphasized to his team that “[they] were going to get tested at some point and now [they had] passed the test”, reminding McLean that they had never wanted an easy win but rather to be challenged in their pursuits.

As the team regroups, it is clear that both McLean’s defense and offense are more alert than ever as they realized they had not yet reached a position of full dominance.

Coach Leland’s comments proved true as sophomore Joseph Margita agilely claimed McLean’s third goal mere minutes after, highlighting the team’s stamina and perseverance.

With fifteen minutes left to spare before the buzzer signaled the end, it was clear that Centerville was racing against time.

McLean refused to allow Centerville control, cleanly blocking and redirecting their multiple hurried attempts.

As the last two minutes came to a close, it seemed that Centerville was no match for the clock as senior Gage Lyons made a fresh fourth goal in McLean’s name.

As the exhilarated hollers of the Highlanders filled the field, the final score stood 4-1, setting a successful opening tone for the season.

“Everything [contributed to our success tonight]. Our whole team played well, our counter attack was great. We kept the ball well, we controlled, and we played really well on defense,” Eaton said. “[Our hope for this season] is to get that state ring.”