For one team, it was probably the best game it has played all season. For the other, it was perhaps the worst and one to quickly put away.
Herndon High looked all but invincible during its dominating 7-0 boys’ soccer win over visiting South Lakes last Friday night, April 23.
“We have the talent,” said Steve Lee, Herndon’s first year head coach. “The team that played tonight can play with [elite] teams like Robinson, Langley and Stone Bridge. When we’re playing at our ultimate level, we can play with anyone in the [Northern] Region.”
Herndon, which improved to 5-2-2 with the cross-town rival win over the Seahawks, had lost a tough, 4-3 decision to Concorde District opponent Centreville three days earlier.
“It was a tough loss,” said Lee, of falling to the Wildcats. “It’s a district game. But a majority of that game I thought we were the better team on the field.”
The win over the winless Seahawks was a bounce-back, confidence builder of sorts.
“It was not a poor team we played tonight,” said Lee, of South Lakes. “But we made them look ordinary.”
The Hornets, who built a 4-0 halftime lead, received two goals apiece from strikers Henry Vigil and Emmanuel Korvah in the non-district affair. Other goals came from defenseman Sam Eaddy, outside midfielder Patrick McLaughlin and defenseman Salah Warid. Alex Stopa, the Hornets’ starting senior goalie, played a majority of the game in the net. Also getting time at the position were backups Derek Sherman and Jack Clarke.
The tone of the game was set early when defender Eaddy, from the right corner, sent a bouncing, crossing shot into the left side of the net from 15 yards out to open the game’s scoring less than 30 seconds into the start of the game.
Thirteen minutes later, the Hornets scored again when Korvah, the talented sophomore, chipped a short straight range shot over the goalies’ head from 10 yards out to make it 2-0.
And just moments after that, Herndon scored again when Vigil, following a long range shot by a teammate that hit the crossbar, headed in the rebound off the right side.
Just like that, barely 15 minutes into the game, Herndon had total control at 3-0. The Hornets would add another score before the half ended when Korvah, from the right corner about 15 yards out, sent a high, crossing shot into the left side of the net with 12 minutes, 25 seconds showing on the clock to make it 4-0.
Herndon, in the second half, continued its stellar play with three more goals.
“We definitely put it together,” said Stopa, the Hornets’ All-District caliber goalie. “Getting the first goal in the first 30 seconds was a great start. It’s definitely the best game we’ve played as a team.”
<b>IT WAS A FORGETTABLE</b> outing for a South Lakes team - still in search of its first win - that has played opponents close for the most part this season. The game against the Hornets was an exception. South Lakes coach Marty Pfister told his team to put the game out of their memory banks afterwards.
“I left it with them, `Let’s leave this game and go forward,’” said the coach. “There’s nothing we can take from that game.”
The defeat capped a busy week for the Seahawks, who had lost a non-district home game versus Wakefield, 1-0, on Tuesday before falling to district guest Jefferson, 3-1, on Thursday. A day later, South Lakes met the Hornets in what was actually a make-up game.
“It was out third game in four days,” said Pfister. “We’re a little banged up with injuries and we’re young.”
Pfister’s squad has three more games – all district contests – remaining on its regular season schedule before the start of the Liberty District playoffs on May 17. The team is not scheduled to play again until Monday, May 3 when it hosts Marshall. South Lakes’ remaining two contests after that are at Madison on May 7 and home against Fairfax on May 13.
“This year it seems that any mistake we’ve made, teams capitalize,” said Pfister. “But we’re young and resilient and looking forward to three more games in the district.”
Herndon was scheduled to play a couple of road games against two of the better teams in the region this week – at Robinson on Monday, April 26, and at unbeaten Langley this Friday night, April 30 at 7.