Oakton’s Patrick Moore had no indication that Richmond’s soccer program was in jeopardy of being dropped back in the April of 2012, so he did what he had always wanted to do: commit to become a Spiders soccer player, and put his recruitment fully behind him to focus on his senior year of high school.
He was headed to an Oakton football game this fall, he said, when his “heart just dropped.” Richmond announced it was boxing its soccer program up to pave the way for varsity lacrosse at the school, and Moore, as a prospect, was abandoned.
“I was just like, guess I got to get back to grinding,” Moore said. “I have to find a new home.”
Moore toured the region, visiting seven other programs and taking interest in teams such as Radford, George Washington and George Mason. But none felt as right as James Madison, which Moore said was always his top choice after Richmond, prompting him to commit this spring.
“It was actually a really drawn out process,” Moore said. “I just fell in love with JMU as soon as they started recruiting me.”
With his future plans set, Moore has become the centerpiece for No. 1 Oakton’s unbeaten run this season, and his latest performance was memorable. He scored two goals and added an assist in the Cougars’ 5-1 win Tuesday over West Potomac in the Virginia AAA Northern Region quarterfinals. Oakton (13-0-2), which earned a Concorde District title last week, will meet Hayfield tonight in a Northern region semifinal.
Oakton has won six consecutive matches, by a margin of 23 goals for to seven against. Moore has netted eight goals on the year, and his offensive production has picked up as the matches have become more important; he has scored four in the last three games, including one in last week’s 3-2 overtime win over Robinson in the Concorde District championship game.
“I’m definitely not ready for the season to end,” Moore said. “I hope for a deep postseason run.”
His senior season has come and gone quickly — and not without pain. Moore has been battling a lingering hamstring injury for most of the season, he said, an injury that was compounded with a pulled calf muscle in the game against Robinson. But he is the unquestioned leader of a club filled with veteran talent.
He points to a particularly forgettable performance against Westfield in the regular season finale (he scored once in the 3-1 win), a “very hot game,” where he wasn’t feeling well, but nonetheless felt compelled to pick his team up vocally. He has never been much of a ‘rah-rah’ leader type, but after studying and observing senior leaders on the last three Oakton varsity squads, he knows how to play the role, he said.
“I embrace the pressure, “ Moore said. “It’s going to take 110 percent from every member of our team (to win states). From the starters to the bench, to even our second string goalie, if it comes down to that.”
NUMBER CRUNCH: 14
The number of players who scored for the Broadneck girls’ lacrosse team in Wednesday’s 21-5 win over Sherwood in the Maryland 4A/3A final. All eight seniors registered goals for the ninth-ranked Bruins, who won their first state title since 2003.
PHOTOS OF THE NIGHT
VIDEO OF THE NIGHT
– Madison won 16-12 over Oakton in a girls’ lacrosse AAA Virginia Northern Section semifinal Wednesday, a game which pitted strong family ties between both sidelines.
– Glenelg’s offensive woes started early and lasted throughout the Maryland 3A/2A boys’ lacrosse state final, and ultimately became the Gladiators undoing in a 13-3 loss to Hereford.
– Freedom South-Riding’s Alex Cragg won the Northwest Region singles title, then teamed up with Brian Park to claim the doubles crown, the school announced Wednesday.
WHAT TO WATCH TODAY
Virginia AAA Northern Region boys’ soccer quarterfinal: W.T. Woodson at South Lakes, 7 pm.
W.T. Woodson is fresh off a convincing 4-0 win over Herndon in Tuesday’s Northern Region first round game, but will meet a South Lakes squad that has won 16 straight matches and has outscored opponents 20-6 in its last eight.