As T.C. Williams began senior day introductions Tuesday, its opponent was nowhere to be found. At 4:26 p.m., just four minutes before kickoff, Washington-Lee’s bus pulled up to the Alexandria school, with none of the players rushing into the stadium. They walked onto the turf and were granted a few minutes to stretch and prepare before the game began in the sweltering heat.
Their confidence was understated, but their play was not. Whatever disadvantage the late arrival brought quickly evaporated. Prepared or not, Washington-Lee had Maycol Nunez, and T.C. Williams did not.
Nunez sliced up the opposing defense with a hat trick and Samuel Felix-Hernandez added a goal as No. 9 Washington-Lee cruised to a 4-0 win over the fifth-ranked Titans in a nonleague regular season finale for both teams.
“Last game [against Centreville], the same thing happened. The bus took a while for us to get there. But this time we were ready,” Nunez said. “We came here and we were ready to get it.”
Washington-Lee (11-0-3) capped the regular season without a loss, but it was playing to atone for a disappointing scoreless tie against Centreville last week. Nunez entered the day as the most prolific scorer in the area, having scored 25 goals with 10 assists.
Meantime, T.C. Williams (11-2) had allowed three goals just once all season.
Nunez struck first with a left-footed goal 15 minutes into the game. Felix-Hernandez made it 2-0 minutes later after breaking down the right side of the field and dropping in a score from about 20 yards.
Felix-Hernandez was rejected by the goalkeeper on his next scoring opportunity with about seven minutes left in the first half, but Nunez was unmarked and scored on the rebound.
“Honestly, he could probably beat nine out of 10 guys he goes up against,” Washington-Lee Coach Jimmy Carrasquillo said. “His change of pace, he can go from just dragging the ball and then all of a sudden he takes a cut, and he’s gone.”
The youth of Washington-Lee is striking — it has 16 players who are either juniors or sophomores and one freshman on its roster. Nunez, a sophomore originally from Honduras, is one of the youngest players on the team. He and his teammates warmed up with a ball in front of the Arlington school Tuesday while waiting for their bus to arrive, he said, anticipating that they would be arriving in the nick of time.
His second-half goal may have been one of his best of the season, at least cosmetically. He broke away from a defender after receiving a through-ball, and T.C. Williams’s keeper came charging out of his box to try to disrupt the momentum. But Nunez maneuvered around him while going full speed, then crossed up a trailing defender. He was all alone when he tapped the ball into the net, and his celebration was short-lived. Nunez knows there is more work to do when the Conference 6 playoffs open later this week, when he hopes his offensive explosion continues.
“It feels really good . . . . They help me a lot, they send me a lot of through-balls,” Nunez said of pushing his season total to 28 goals, nodding in the direction of his teammates. “It just happens. I can’t really explain how it happens.”