Leading 2-1 with less than two minutes remaining in a regional semifinal matchup with Lake Braddock, the Washington-Lee boys soccer team could "taste" a trip to the championship game and a berth in the state tournament.
But after a bicycle kick, a defensive slip and two overtime periods, the Generals’ "taste" of victory turned into a state of shock.
Lake Braddock defeated W-L 3-2 in overtime on June 1 at Robinson Secondary School, ending the Generals’ season. W-L was well on its way to another victory when a pair of plays in the final minutes derailed their season.
The Bruins tied the score at 2-2 late in the second half when Jefferson Ortiz’s bicycle kick found the back of the net with 1:38 remaining. The game went to overtime and three minutes later, Matt Fraedrich scored the game-winner. W-L senior Alex Salguero, the co-National District Player of the Year, ran up to defend Fraedrich, but slipped on a wet field freshly soaked by a pre-overtime downpour. Fraedrich turned, headed down the field and scored.
"Disbelief," is how W-L head coach Jimmy Carrasquillo described the feeling of losing a late lead. "It was one of those things where they could taste it. They saw time was running down, they could taste it. They knew, ‘Hey, this is what we worked for’ and then it got away from us. …
"Alex is coming to defend and he slipped. [Fraedrich] made a decent turn, but, obviously, if Alex keeps his feet, he’s not going to outrun Alex."
Senior Keith Ricks scored both of W-L’s goals despite being a focal point of the Lake Braddock defense. His goal in the 64th minute gave the Generals a 2-1 advantage.
"They man-marked him the whole game," Carrasquillo said. "They didn’t leave him alone. Sometimes he had two people on his back. He was still able to find some space. He wasn’t as involved as we wanted him to, but when he got involved he got some things done."
While the loss to Lake Braddock was disappointing, the Generals can take pride in making the deepest postseason run during Carrasquillo’s 12-year tenure. W-L finished the season with a 16-2-1 record and a National District championship, outscoring its opponents 79-13. The Generals went 10-0 against district opponents and held a 46-3 goal advantage.
"I’m proud of us — very proud," Ricks said. "I knew we were going to be good, I didn’t think we were going to be this good."
W-L will lose some key seniors, including Salguero, midfielder Luis Torres and goalkeeper Robert Dewald, but next season’s team will be led by junior forward Eric Schmidt and junior defender Jack Beckman.
"It was fantastic what they did," Carrasquillo said. "They came together like I know teams from our school can. I hope that they set a high standard for next year and where we go from here. [I’m] very happy, definitely kind of sad, with the way it ended, but [stuff] happens. … We’re going to have a young team next year, so hopefully they realize what we’ve done this year through hard work. …
"It’s a fantastic season. Hopefully we’ll gain a little bit of respect from the region because it seems like it’s either Yorktown or some other school that gets respect. It’s not the first time we’ve done this as far getting to the regional tournament, coming in having a team like we did, so hopefully we’ll just build on this."