The Herndon High boys' soccer team continued building up its win total over the first half of the spring season with a decisive 7-1 victory over non-district opponent and home team Wakefield High this past Friday night, April 1 in Arlington.
Patrick McLauglin scored three goals for a hat trick in the victory, while also getting an assist. He now has nine goals and, along with Centreville High's Connor Coward, leads the Northern Region in that category. Other Hornet goals in the win over Wakefield came from Bryant Fernandez, Danny Alvarado, Peter Sullivan, and Carlos Mendoza. Assists came from Alvarado (2), Alex Bednarek, Josh Glazier, Tedy Vasquez, and Raleigh McKenzie.
For the season, Herndon (6-0) has allowed just two goals, while scoring 19. The team's wins prior to the Wakefield game were at host South Lakes, 3-0, on March 18; at Chantilly, 3-1, on March 22; home against South County, 3-0, on March 24; home versus Westfield, 2-0, on March 28; and home versus West Potomac, 1-0, on March 30.
"We are playing very well this year," said head coach Sean Lanigan, who is back at the helm after missing the 2010 season. "Coming into the season the biggest worry was putting together defenders. Our team is full of good midfielders, but who could play in the back?"
Lanigan has found successful answers on defense where senior Sam Eaddy (right back); center backs McKenzie, a senior, and Bednarek, a junior; and sophomore left back Carlos Vasquez have been key factors in Herndon's shutdown defense.
"They've been phenomenal," said Lanigan, of the defensive foursome. "They didn't normally play those positions [in the past]. Only Sam had played defense."
Junior goalie Jack Clarke has not had too many save chances, but has made big plays when called upon.
"He's only been tested two or three times per game," said Lanigan, of the keeper. "He stopped a penalty kick against South County. He's been very good so far."
McLaughlin, who played in the midfield last year, has stepped up to play at striker this season and has broken through in a big time way with his nine goals.
"I wanted to play him in the midfield, but we weren't scoring in our scrimmages," said Lanigan, of one reason why he moved his star player to the front. "He just adds that size we need up front. He's tenacious and can shoot with his right or left foot."
Another factor in McLauglin being moved up top was due to a knee injury that has sidelined junior striker EK Korvah all season. Two years ago, Korvah tallied 12 goals for the Hornets.
Herndon has received strong play from both Bryant Fernandez, an attacking style center midfielder, and senior forward Salah Warid, who has four goals and three assists thus far and has taken some of the scoring pressure off of McLauglin.
One of the team's grittiest players is senior midfielder Peter Sullivan (1 goal, 3 assists), who has a bright future of playing collegiate ball at Longwood University.
"He's an experienced, seasoned player," said Lanigan. "He's not flashy. He does the [unheralded] work to get to balls. He's one tough guy in the middle. He's an unsung hero and the engine that runs the midfield."
HERNDON has a line-up of experienced players who have played with one another for several years as members of the Hornets or in club soccer.
"This is a seasoned high school team," said Lanigan, who had many of the same players on his Herndon team that went 14-2 and won the Concorde District title in 2009. "Our expectations are to win the district and get to states. But there are some very good teams out there."
Herndon was scheduled to host Battlefield High, one of the area's top teams, in a non-region contest earlier this week on Tuesday, April 5. The Hornets will play at district opponent Centreville on Thursday night, April 7 at 7 p.m. The team's next home game is scheduled for next Wednesday, April 13 versus district rival Robinson.