“I’ve never seen our girls scream so loud,” Braithwaite said. “They’re finally seeing their hard work paying off.”
With the victory, the Wolverines snapped a losing streak that started in 2007 and spanned at least 61 games. The skid pre-dated every current team member’s affiliation with the program, and longtime Westlake Athletic Director Dominic Zaccarelli said he knew “it’d been a long doggone time” since the program’s last win before he went deep into his files to find out the exact length of the streak.
Zaccarelli said the team went 0-54 between 2008 and 2011 before losing its first six games this year, and the last win came sometime during the regular season of the Wolverines’ 1-14 2007 campaign, for which Zaccarelli did not have game-by-game results readily available.
When Westlake scored first Monday, it was the first time since Braithwaite took over before the 2010 season that the Wolverines had a lead in a game.
“In Charles County there’s not a feeder program or something to expose the girls to field hockey,” Zaccarelli said. “The first taste they have in Charles County is at the high school level…This is exciting for the girls.”
Braithwaite said she has been working with her players to get more confident in what they are doing as they become more comfortable with the rules and skills of the sport.
Senior goalkeeper Marisa Booth has kept Westlake in games with her strong play in net, senior Caitlin Curry and currently injured sophomore Madison Webb pace the offensive attack and defenders Julie Morris and Stephanie Ferguson lead the defense.
“It’s definitely a relief and the boost that we needed to continue our season,” Braithwaite said. “We’ve proven we’re not the same team as last year. The girls had the skills, it was just believing in themselves that they could win.”
That Sept. 24 second half, though, perhaps did more for the Rebels than any of their previous games.
“That’s the first time we really had to play a lot of defense,” said Fairfax Coach Amber Beaudoin, whose team starts six sophomores. “It was a big wake-up call to a lot of them about the speed of the game. Everybody would love to go undefeated, but it’s nice to be tested and to see where the holes are on the team.”
Fairfax (12-1, 3-0 in the Virginia AAA Liberty District) and Marshall (10-2, 2-0) conclude the regular season against each other Oct. 11. Two days prior to that, Marshall will face McLean (5-6-1, 2-1), which also is one of the top teams in the district. Fairfax beat McLean, 2-0, on Friday.
Earning a favorable district tournament seed, and in turn winning the district tournament title, is paramount because the Liberty is paired with the Patriot District in the first round of the Northern Region tournament.
The three region-qualifying teams that do not win the Liberty title likely will be paired with West Springfield (10-1-1), Lake Braddock (11-3) and defending region champion South County (9-5) in the first round of regionals.
The Liberty champ would draw the Patriot fourth seed and likely would avoid being in the same half of the bracket as region favorite Westfield. The two teams that reach the region final advance to the state tournament.
“Everybody understands the importance of seeding this year,” Beaudoin said.
West Springfield is the only team with an unbeaten record in the Virginia AAA Patriot District, but the Spartans still have four games left, including Oct. 9 at South County.... In 11 games against Northern Region teams, Westfield has outscored the competition 52-2.... Mount Vernon (8-3-1) is the only team without a loss in the National District.... South River beat Severna Park, 2-1, on Tuesday, and is now 4-0 against Glenelg, Broadneck and Severna Park combined... Wootton will face perhaps its toughest game of the regular season Monday when the Patriots travel to Bethesda-Chevy Chase.
(Records through Tuesday.)
1. South River (7-1-1) Last week: 1
2. Glenelg (6-1) LW: 2
3. Westfield (12-2) LW: 3
4. Broadneck (8-2) LW: 4
5. Severna Park (7-2) LW: 5
6. St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (8-3) LW: 6
7. Wootton (7-0-1) LW: 7
8. Bullis (8-0) LW: 8
9. Sherwood (8-0) LW: 9
10. Fairfax (12-1) LW: 10