Lightning forced the Washington-Lee and Mount Vernon boys’ soccer teams off the field Monday for an hour-long delay.
When the Generals and Majors returned to action, one team came out ready to work, while the performance of the other group led to its head coach calling the team "lazy."
W-L sophomore Maycol Nunez scored off a Michael Katz corner kick in the 34th minute, Katz added an insurance goal moments later and the Generals defeated the defending state champion Majors 2-0 in a weather-shortened match at Mount Vernon High School. With the victory, W-L wrapped up the National District title. Teams from the former National District have continued recognizing a champion after the VHSL's six-class realignment based on record against former district opponents. W-L, which is now in Conference 6, finished with a 5-0-2 record against teams from the former National District. Mount Vernon, which is now in Conference 13, is 1-2-3 against former National District opponents.
“We’ve actually battled this all season long,” said Mount Vernon head coach Tony Garza, who won the 2013 AAA state title in his first season with the program. “Since after the fourth game, it seems like, second half, the boys just come out like the game’s already over. They have no desire to finish playing the game. … We’re a very lazy team. I hate to be negative that way, but we’re a very lazy team. They’re still riding the high of last year’s state championship win, [but] that was last year, not this year.
“As you can see from today’s game, to every clear that we have, we are just basically jogging out while the other teams are forcing themselves out quickly, they’re quick to the ball [and] we’re just being reactive to everything. We’re just a lazy team right now.”
“We’re a very lazy team. I hate to be negative that way, but we’re a very lazy team. They’re still riding the high of last year’s state championship win, [but] that was last year, not this year."
--- Mount Vernon boys’ soccer coach Tony Garza
The game would eventually be called due to poor field conditions with 25:27 remaining in the second half, but not before the Generals scored a pair of goals. Play was originally suspended due to lightning with 23:15 remaining in the opening half and the teams locked in a scoreless tie. When play resumed, W-L took advantage of the wet grass field late in the first half as Nunez scored his team-leading 25th goal of the season off a Katz corner kick that came in low.
“We knew we had to put a couple goals in in case the game got cancelled,” Katz said, “so we came out, tried to win and won the district title.”
The victory improved W-L’s overall record to 10-0-2. The Generals have outscored opponents 43-8 and have held the opposition scoreless in seven contests. Meanwhile, Mount Vernon’s record dropped to 2-4-4. After a 1-0-3 start, the Majors 1-4-1 over their last six games.
“The biggest thing is that the team chemistry is not there,” Garza said. “It’s too much individual work out there. … The biggest thing, honestly, that’s on their mind is they like to hear their names being called from the stands from the girls and that’s the problem that we’re having right now, is too much ego.”
It hasn’t all been bad for the Majors. Garza praised the play of freshman midfielder Christian Osorio, who has played for the D.C. United Academy. Osorio’s first action for the Majors was April 8 against South Lakes, Mount Vernon’s third game of the season.
“The boy’s fantastic,” Garza said. “… He’s a great distributor, he has great field vision, [his] foot skill is really good, too, when he’s on [his] game, but he gets pretty frustrated when other people aren’t moving to the ball. He does a lot of work and puts the ball on stride for people, but when people aren’t making runs for him, he gets a little frustrated.”
Junior midfielder and team captain Daniel Obour has played well for Mount Vernon, along with senior goalkeeper Diego Castro, junior defender Vandyke Gyau and freshman forward Mauricio Sanchez, Garza said. Sanchez is the team’s leading goal-scorer with six.
Last season, Mount Vernon started 3-7-1 before winning 11 of its final 12 games and capturing the AAA state title. With the postseason approaching, Garza is hoping the Majors, who now compete in Group 5A, can turn things around and make a run.
“I look at the regular season as a tune-up,” he said. “The tournament is what counts the most. I look at the regular season as a tune-up, getting them ready for the tournament. The tournament starts in two weeks. We talked after the game and there’s a great chance, we’re hoping, that we’re taking all this aside and fixing the little nicks here and the nicks there and putting everything back together … so we can make a run again.”
The Majors will travel to face Stuart at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 8.