The Washington-Lee boys soccer team has routinely exhibited its offensive talents during a dominant 2011 season, piling up the goals en route to a district championship and a win over Centreville in the opening round of the regional tournament.
During the regional quarterfinals on May 27, Woodson's defensive focus limited W-L's opportunities. Unable to run away with another lopsided victory, the Generals instead proved patience is a virtue.
Eric Schmidt headed in a cross from Branko Picavia in the 70th minute, Alan Ochoa added a late goal and W-L advanced to the region semifinals for the first time during head coach Jimmy Carrasquillo's 12-year tenure with a 2-0 victory against the Cavaliers on Friday at W-L.
After a scoreless first half, W-L's opportunities increased, but time after time the Generals came up empty. Rather than get frustrated, W-L continued to attack and eventually found the net.
"We knew they were packing it in," Schmidt said. ... "They were going to put 10 or 11 back and our coach made some good halftime adjustments. We put a lot of people forward. We continued to pressure, we kept working, we didn't give up, we fought for every ball and that's what showed our determination. ... We're not used to [a low-scoring] game, obviously. ... We knew we just had to keep on working. We knew one was going to go in, we just had to stay positive."
W-L improved to 16-1-1 while outscoring its opponents 77-10. Friday's shutout was the Generals' seventh in a row and 12th this season.
Midway through the second half, goalkeeper Robert Dewald made a clutch save to keep the contest locked in a scoreless tie. A W-L defender stumbled, leaving a Woodson player with a chance to give the Cavaliers the lead, but Dewald turned away Woodson's best opportunity of the second half.
"I didn't see a lot of action today, but I tried to stay connected, just talking to the team so I didn't get flat, just in case something like that was to happen," Dewald said. "... It's games like this that show our true heart as a team. It doesn't show heart when you beat a team a 6-0. But when a team's going to pack it back and you have to battle, it really showed just what you have."
Carrasquillo said Dewald doesn't get the respect he deserves, due in part to a lack of opportunities.
Saves like the one Dewald made Friday are "why, to me, it's a shame that Robert's not the first-team all region goalkeeper," Carrasquillo said. "He doesn't have 80 saves, he doesn't have all these huge numbers. In a game like this, he had to make one save. They score that, it could be a game-changer and they feel like they're back in it, but he came up huge. That's what he's been doing all year long. He doesn't make 30 saves a game because he doesn't face it, but he makes two saves a game and they're huge saves."
W-L will face Lake Braddock in the region semifinals at 5 p.m. on June 1 at Robinson Secondary School. The Generals defeated Lake Braddock 5-1 on March 22.
Reaching the semifinals "is nice, but it's not going to mean anything until we win the region," Carrasquillo said. "That, to me, will mean something. This, right now, is just another game. That's how I'm looking at it. The big picture is winning the region."