After earning a 2-0 win over Churchill on Monday, Good Counsel first-year Coach Dylan Dempsey believes that he witnessed the birth of a new winning culture for his boys’ soccer program. After winning just six games a year ago, the Falcons turned to the 25-year-old Dempsey, who is one of the youngest coaches in the region but nonetheless has the daunting challenge of changing the soccer environment at a school where athletic programs are nationally recognized.
“There’s no culture of winning on the varsity squad, at least, and that trickles down to the entire program. There’s no expectation,” Dempsey said. Against Churchill, “we accomplished everything that we had set out to work on.”
Good Counsel (1-1-1) opened the season with a 3-0 loss to Spalding, and following their win over Churchill, played to a 0-0 tie with McNamara on Tuesday. Dempsey said his team is learning how to win the ball and find the link in the midfield, and with that comes scoring opportunities and up-tempo offense that is a trait of so many clubs in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference.
Dempsey, an Olney native who won three state championships with River Hill, graduated a year early from high school to play professionally in Europe. He had stints in Ireland and Barcelona for two years before returning home. He took over last spring and immediately got to work evaluating his personnel and getting to know the kids, and he knew the team needed a signature moment early in the season to start laying the foundation for Good Counsel soccer. Against Churchill, Dempsey may just have won that moment.
“I could see the look on all the kids’ faces, I could just read the body language after that game,” Dempsey said. “I think that things kind of really sunk in for them. That they really are this good, that the program has a future and I think they’re going to be the ones that put this program on the map.”
Fifth-ranked St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes is 5-0, which is the best start in Coach Bo Amato’s six-year tenure with the Alexandria private school. The defending Interstate Athletic Conference champions grinded out a pair of 2-1 victories over Flint Hill and Georgetown Day last week, and won their third game in four days by beating Woodberry Forest 3-1 last Friday.
On Tuesday, the Saints beat Bishop Ireton, 5-2, thanks to two goals apiece from Patrick Erickson and Graham Guidry, who form one of the more talented forward tandems in the league. Both have scored five goals thus far this season. It’s quite the ascent for Guidry in particular, a junior who Amato said has already eclipsed his scoring totals from his entire freshman and sophomore seasons combined.
Amato is still wary of the strength of his schedule to start the season, and insists that he will learn more about his team when IAC play commences. That slate will start September 21 against Bullis, leading up to what he calls the “Week of Death,” which includes a three-day stretch with matchups against Landon, WCAC power Gonzaga and Episcopal, starting October 2.
“It’s a great start, yes, but it doesn’t mean anything to myself,” Amato said. “No disrespect to anyone we’ve played, but we know the IAC is going to be more difficult.”
Paul VI Catholic has scored 14 goals in three wins… Wootton enters the rankings after scoring 18 goals in four games. Matt Hoy leads the Patriots with 10 goals, while Jared Nozick has netted four.
(Records through Tuesday)
1. DeMatha (2-0-1) LW: 1
2. Gonzaga (2-0-1) LW: 2
3. Walter Johnson (2-0) LW: 4
4. Wootton (4-0) LW: NR
5. St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (5-0) LW: NR
6. Episcopal (1-0) LW: 6
7. Paul VI Catholic (3-1) LW: 5
8. Marriotts Ridge (2-0) LW: 7
9. Watkins Mill (1-1) LW: 3
10. Quince Orchard (3-1) LW: NR