House of Pain’s upbeat 1992 hit "Jump Around" blared from the public address system at Robinson Secondary School’s soccer field. The mood surrounding senior C.J. Bartholomew and the Yorktown boys soccer team, however, was far more somber.
"I made it to four regional semifinals: one in basketball, three in soccer," Bartholomew said, and I "haven’t won one."
Yorktown came up empty in the Northern Region semifinals for the third consecutive year on June 2, this time with a 1-0 loss to McLean. Afterward, the Patriots sat on the grass just past the end line, equally —- if not more — disappointed with being shut out.
"We just didn’t come to play," senior captain Mark Highsmith said. "Overall, I think we were probably the better team but they just came out harder. Obviously it [stinks] to lose. We didn’t even score a goal — that’s even worse."
A header by McLean’s Matt Janssen off a corner in the third minute produced the game’s only goal. Bartholomew said he wasn’t worried about the early deficit.
"The same thing happened against Centreville," he said of Yorktown’s 5-1 win over the Wildcats on May 27 in the quarterfinals. "I thought, ‘All right, the same thing with Centreville, we’ll put five away.’ … I can’t believe we didn’t score a goal."
Yorktown defeated Jefferson 3-2 on May 25 in the opening round. The Patriots finished the season with a 15-3-3 record.
For the Patriots’ seven seniors, the loss to McLean marked the end of a four-year stretch that included four National District championships under head coach David Wood. In time, they can fondly look back on their achievements. But in the moments after the game, disappointment lingered.
"Our district’s been pretty competitive for the past couple of years or so. I’m pretty proud that we’ve won that four years straight," Highsmith said. "In terms of [the regional tournament], I kind of expected us to get this far. I’m proud of my team for actually doing it, because it’s actually a big thing when you step back and look at it, [but] it’s hard to be proud right now."
The team’s seven seniors: Bartholomew (first-team all-district defender), Genta Yuzawa (first-team all-district midfielder), Highsmith (captain and second-team all-district defender), Matt Gordon (captain, defender), Paul Mosman (midfielder), Carl Leighty (defender) and Cameron Little (midfielder).
"The seniors have been great," Wood said. "I’ve loved coaching them for their four years. They’ve brought a lot of tradition and pride and character and winning to this program. They’ve won four district titles and they’ve gotten to three region semifinals in a row. … I think every young kid in our program can look up to them and look at them and see how [mad] they are after losing."
Yorktown’s top returning player is junior forward Andrew Panknen, a first-team all-district forward and the team’s leading goal scorer.