James Moreno helps turn Loudoun County into contender

When James Moreno left the D.C. United Academy two years ago to play for his school team, Loudoun County, he did so with a vision. He wanted to help the program become one of the best in the area – and even as he struggled with a nagging hamstring injury a year ago, he watched his team make inroads to that goal.

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But the team was dotted with injuries across the board last spring. Moreno’s season ended last May after he tried to come back too early from his injury. After a full six months of rehab and intensive training, the forward has made it through the first three months of his senior season injury-free, and he has been a centerpiece to the Raiders 14-win regular season.

“This year its really been about everyone stepping in and working as a team and I think that’s what has gotten us to where we are right now,” Moreno said.”I knew that was one thing I had to work on, not just my fitness, but to get my muscle endurance up to prevent this from happening again. And I think I’ve done well in a sense of, I’ve came in and worked twice as hard and now the results are paying off.”

Loudoun County (14-1-1) will continue the Virginia Conference 21 playoffs Tuesday in a semifinal against Sherando, in what it hopes will be a step on a long postseason run. The Raiders haven’t lost since April 4 — and they have been particularly dominant in their past eight games, outscoring opponents 25-2 during that stretch.

Moreno scored two goals against Heritage last week, pushing his season total to 21. It was the third time in 10 days that Moreno has scored multiple goals in a game, including a four-goal performance in a 6-0 win over Champe.

Moreno’s ability to stay healthy has led to his stellar stats this season, and he has continued to work under the tutelage of his father, D.C. United legend Jaime Moreno. The younger Moreno has received college interest from West Virginia and George Mason, among others but plans to take a year off following graduation to pursue professional opportunities in either the United States or Europe.

He hopes to transition into that next phase of his career with a special end to his senior season, he said.

“As long as we stick together … I think we have a great chance to make it to states,” Moreno said. “I think if we just take it game by game and do our job, we have an amazing opportunity to do something that hasn’t been done in Loudoun County boys’ soccer history.

NUMBER CRUNCH: 7

Consecutive 3A state softball titles for Northern, which defeated Linganore on Saturday to extend the streak.

BREAKFAST LINKS

— Tommy Lopez pitched a complete game and had a key hit as Oakton beat Chantilly in the Conference 5 baseball championship game.

–Kelly Bouma’s three-run home run helped Sherwood  win a third straight Maryland 4A crown Saturday over Chesapeake.

–Garrett Gibson came through when Southern needed him the most, using a clutch hit to help his school win its first 2A baseball state title over Parkside.

–Reservoir lived up to expectations in resounding fashion, winning the the 3A state baseball title with a shutout win over North Harford.

–St. John’s closed a memorable campaign with its first DCSAA title, beating St. Albans at Nationals Park. 

–Wootton’s Miranda Deng and Whitman’s Aries Wong were in top form in College Park on Saturday, claiming Maryland state singles titles. 

VIDEO FROM THE WEEKEND

Sherwood crushes Chesapeake, 12-1, to win state championship. (Will Davidson IV for Synthesis/Koubaroulis LLC./The Washington Post)

The Stallions took an early lead and never looked back as they beat the Bruins by a score of 13-6. (Andrew Kloc for Synthesis/Koubaroulis LLC./The Washington Post)

PHOTOS FROM THE WEEKEND

WHAT TO WATCH

Girls’ soccer, Virginia Conference 14 final, No. 7 Stone Bridge at No. 2 Briar Woods, 6

Alexandra Addington and Nieko Ridley scored for Stone Bridge in its 2-1 win at Briar Woods on May 9. The teams meet again with a championship on the line tonight.

 

Roman Stubbs covers the University of Maryland athletics for The Washington Post.

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Brandon Parker · May 23, 2014

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