Girls soccer advances in DCSAA championship, boys team eliminated

Marco Squitieri

The varsity boys and girls soccer teams received opposite results in DCSAA quarterfinal playoff games on Wednesday, as the girls defeated Washington Latin 3-0 and the boys fell to Gonzaga 3-0. The girls’ win marks their tenth straight victory, while the boys’ defeat represents a disappointing ending to a once-promising season. 

The games began with the girls team taking on Washington Latin. During the first half, Wilson set the tone early with constant pressure and possession, overwhelming the Latin players and keeping the action in their attacking end. This pressure proved to be effective with 28 minutes left, as junior forward Jaedyn Tyree accelerated around a defender before burying the ball in the top left corner of the goal. 

The Tigers soon extended their lead further before the conclusion of the first half, when an attempted clearance by a Latin defender ricocheted off junior Sage Hudson and into the net. The Tigers clamped down on defense in the second half, fending off desperate attacks by Latin forwards. A second goal by Hudson on a breakaway sealed the game in the waning moments, punching the Tiger’s ticket into the semi-finals. 

The Tigers will take on Maret in the semifinals Friday at Wilson. The Tigers fell to Maret in the regular season, and senior captain Lucy Harllee hopes the team will use the lessons from that game to claim victory. “We need to use our regular season game versus Maret as fuel in the tank and make sure we don’t let them get under our skin,” Harllee said. 

During their game against Gonzaga, the boys team wasn’t able to continue on the success enjoyed by the girls. The Tigers fell behind early after a penalty by junior Rashad Biddle led to Gonzaga scoring on a penalty kick. Wilson’s woes continued as, just minutes later, a shot from outside the box found its way in, giving Gonzaga an early 2-0 advantage. 

The Wilson boys appeared flustered after finding themselves in an unfamiliar hole so early, as they struggled to get anything productive going throughout the rest of the first half. In the second half, the Tigers showed signs of life and battled to get back into the game. Their efforts fell short, and a final goal by Gonzaga slammed the door shut on a potential comeback. 

Reflecting on the game, seniors Sam Smith and Cooper Laine believed Gonzaga possessed a strength advantage which played a large role in the outcome. “They came out a lot more physical than I thought,” explained Smith. “They were a lot bigger; all their players seemed like they hit the weight room and that’s something our team needs to work on,” he said. 

Head coach Jean-Claude Nkongolo felt his team struggled to bounce back from their early issues, leading to the loss. “We made a few mistakes in the beginning of the game… and then the spirits just went down,” Nkongolo said. Despite the disappointing ending to their season, Nkongolo maintained an optimistic message for the future. “We are here to stay and we will come back,” he said as the lights turned out on the boys’ season.