West Springfield boys’ soccer forward Kyle Petitt watched his team stagger in the opening minutes of Thursday night’s showdown against T.C. Williams, which seemed determined to outclass the Spartans early with a relentless offensive assault. The Spartans looked flat. And after they went down a goal in the 11th minute, they looked to be in trouble.
It was the perfect wake-up call for a team with high-end ambitions, a team that entered the third month of the season looking to peak at the right time.
After already losing this week, a second straight loss simply wasn’t an option. That’s at least what the body language of Petitt revealed later in the game.
After he scored a dazzling goal in the middle of the first half, the junior added another early in the second to help give the third-ranked Spartans to a 3-1 victory over No. 5 T.C. Williams in a Virginia Conference 7 match.
“We definitely had a slow start, but if you look back at our season, we’ve had a couple games where we’ve had to come back, and we came back and won,” Petitt said.
West Springfield (8-2, 3-1) entered the night looking to reverse course after a surprising loss to West Potomac earlier in the week.
It would have to come against the red-hot Titans (8-1, 2-1), winners of eight straight and a club that had scored multiple goals in each of those matches. T.C. Williams opened Thursday’s game crisp as usual, and Akable Wilson Miezan’s 10-yard strike in the 11th minute provided the game’s opening goal.
“We started off pretty rough. I think we were a little bit worried, you know, seeing an undefeated team,” West Springfield midfielder Niko Marcich said. “We kept playing, and our defense was solid the whole game.”
It also provided the footing for Petitt’s banner night. He tied the game in the 20th minute after playing a pass near the T.C. Williams goal and beating the goalkeeper with a first touch of the side of his right foot. He struck again three minutes into the second half, the beneficiary of a set-piece. The ball was flicked into Petitt, who acrobatically slotted the kick to the right corner of the net.
That warranted a mob celebration from his teammates, and it was a full-circle moment for Petitt after he struggled with injuries last year. Perhaps his best play of the night came with six minutes remaining, when he hit Marcich with a pass that resulted in the final goal.
“It definitely gave me a confidence boost in my abilities in my finishing,” Petitt said. “I think it’s going to help me improve on the rest of the season.”
Marcich’s score came after T.C. Williams had nearly tied the game on several scoring chances late in the second half — a frantic series of attempts that tested the Spartans. The team is aware that it must win games in similar fashion throughout the rest of the month if it plans to make a serious postseason run, Marcich said.
“It was good to finish our chances today, be clinical and pull out the win,” Marcich said. “This is it. No more losses from here on out.”