Whitman Boys Soccer Overwhelms B-CC in 4A West Region Section Semifinal
Three Vikings scored in 5-0 win
Whitman players celebrate during a win over B-CC Tuesday
Only one goal separated the Walt Whitman High School boys soccer team from Bethesda-Chevy Chase in its 1-0, regular-season victory over the Barons on Sept. 15. But in Tuesday’s 5-0 win in the Class 4A West Region Section I semifinal, the Vikings’ size, speed and skill in all areas of the field proved too much for their crosstown rival to handle.
Nine-time state champion and second-seeded Whitman (14-2-1) is scheduled to face No. 1 Walter Johnson (14-1), a 2-1 winner over Winston Churchill Tuesday, in Thursday’s section final at Montgomery Blair in Silver Spring. The winner will face either Quince Orchard or Northwest in the regional championship game scheduled for Tuesday. Whitman is seeking its first state tournament appearance since winning the title in 2014.
“Teams are playing better [at this point of the season] and Whitman is playing really, really well,” B-CC coach Guillermo Melendez said. “I don’t think we played great, but I thought our boys played really well and Whitman just played outstanding. It’s hard to hang with a team like that. We had a hard time staying with them and once they put one in the back of the net, they got even more confident.”
Whitman senior forward Luciano Cahe, who scored twice Tuesday, said the Vikings’ 4-0 loss to Walter Johnson on Sept. 20 served as a wakeup call. Whitman has won 10 consecutive games since, and Tuesday was its seventh shutout during that stretch. Cahe said even though the Vikings defeated Churchill, 1-0, during the regular season, they were hoping for a rematch against Walter Johnson.
“We would rather play them than Churchill because we want the revenge,” Cahe said. “That was one of the poorer games we had this season. They scored off our mistakes and we didn’t create anything. A lot of our attack is improving, we’re each doing our job to score goals.”
Three players scored for Whitman Tuesday—Cahe (two goals) and leading scorers Andreas Djurhuus (two) and Adam Deutchman—and Cahe said improved depth, not just in the offensive third but throughout the field, has been essential to the Vikings’ progress this fall.
Whitman executed its traditionally technical and possession-oriented game well Tuesday, building nicely out of the back and using the width of the field to keep B-CC chasing for the majority of the contest. Offensive-minded Suraphael Mbdonisi's presence in the central midfield, coupled with better cohesion among Cahe, Djurhuus and Deutchman in the attacking third, has helped Whitman create more opportunities on offense, Cahe said.
While the Vikings did have one or two breakaway chances, most of their goals were scored by persistence around the goal and taking advantage of the Barons’ mistakes and inability to clear the ball effectively.
“We tried to force mistakes,” Cahe said. “If the ball is in the back half of the field, we tried to pressure them to make a mistake so we could counterattack and get a goal.”
Though Whitman led 2-0 at halftime after goals from Djurhuus in the 32nd and 34th minutes, it was Deutchman’s score less than two minutes into the second half that seemed to most affect the Barons’ morale.
B-CC took charge in the first 30 seconds of the second half and found itself with a prime scoring opportunity right in front of Whitman’s goal, but was unable to capitalize. Deutchman’s breakaway was the result of a counterattack. It was also Deutchman who cleared a ball off the goal line early in the first half—Max Cohen and Ian Rosenblum created a few dangerous opportunities around the Whitman goal.
But matters only got worse for B-CC when Cole Fisher was handed his second yellow card of the night—which equates to a red card—forcing the already struggling Barons to finish the game with only 10 players on the field.
“We had a great season; we played 16 games, all away, and we won 10 of them,” Melendez said. “My boys have heart, and my boys are winners. And sometimes winners don’t win. And that’s OK, because that’s not what defines us. …Tonight it was 2-0 at the half and then we played a man down against a very good team so, even though Whitman was definitely the better team, I don’t think 5-0 was the definition of the quality of my boys’ game.”
In other Class 4A West Region soccer playoff action: Walter Johnson’s boys avenged their only loss of the season to Churchill, 2-1, with goals from Zion Friday and Aldo Ruiz. Bobby Riffle and Justin Hahn each picked up an assist. Grace Gage and Grace Whitman scored in the Churchill girls’ 2-1 victory over Whitman; both goals were assisted by Jane Olcott. The Vikings’ goal was scored by freshman Meagan Olsen and assisted by Abby Meyers. Top-seeded Walter Johnson’s girls controlled the majority of the team’s 2-0 victory over B-CC. Goals were scored by Cammie Murtha and Cameryn Grimes; Murtha added an assist as well to bring her season total to 25 goals and 21 assists. Wootton’s girls came back from a goal down to pick up the team’s third straight victory over Quince Orchard, 2-1, and will face undefeated Northwest in the region’s Section II final.