Clarksburg still a contender, Falcons lose Moreno
After graduating 2009 All-Met Player of the Year Julio Arjona and talented defender Henry Reyes, there wasn't as much talk about defending 3A champion Clarksburg entering this season.
How would the Coyotes respond without Arjona, a central figure in their state title run who both engineered their offense and fortified their defense from a withdrawn midfield role?
On Monday night against defending 4A champion Whitman, No. 8 Clarksburg showed that it remains a strong team even without its star player from a year ago, undoing the Vikings in a 3-0 win behind a stout defense and opportunistic counterattack.
"It's less star-studded but a better overall team," senior goalkeeper Austin Fiedler said. "We feel like we can play together no matter what team we're playing against. And I think the hard preseason and long hours of hard work and coming together as a team has really stepped up and helped us out a ton."
Fiedler's experience and 6-foot-5 frame in net is one critical piece of a Coyotes team that returns five other starters. In Bethesda on Monday, Clarksburg showed a disciplined back line that was able to contain the creativity of talented Whitman midfielder Jonny Merhez enough for a shutout.
The Coyotes also were buoyed by the work rate, pace and vision of forward Jonathan Kukapa, who played junior varsity last season after moving from France. Kukapa was involved in all three Clarksburg goals against the Vikings, scoring once and assisting on two others.
"He's been huge," Clarksburg Coach Jeremy Spoales said. "He came to us last year, he had just moved here, and he was out of shape. And I said, 'Listen, you're going to start on JV and go from there.' And he's kind of been a success story we're really proud of because he started on JV and just lit it up."
Severna Park girls lose Moreno
Midfielder Gabby Moreno, an honorable mention All-Met in 2009, will miss her entire junior season at Severna Park after tearing her anterior cruciate ligament this summer.
Moreno suffered the knee injury in August while playing in a camp at Rutgers University, where she has verbally committed.
Moreno had season-ending surgery Sept. 3 and said she plans to be back on the field for Severna Park (1-0-3) next year.
Without Moreno, the Falcons offense has leaned on senior forward Marisa Kresge. Kresge scored three goals in the team's first two games - a 2-2 tie against Bowie and a 3-1 win against Severn.