Episcopal remains perfect with a 3-0 victory over Gonzaga in high school soccer
Thursday, September 23, 2010; 12:11 AM
The top-ranked Episcopal boys' soccer team entered this season on a 45-game unbeaten streak, but somehow still had a little more to prove.
Despite two perfect seasons, marred only by two ties last year, Maroon Coach Rick Wilcox, the fall 2009 All-Met Coach of the Year, wanted to show that Episcopal could beat some of the area's other elite teams, and improve in doing so.
On Wednesday, the Maroon proved their pristine record reflected its overwhelming talent.
Behind a shining performance from junior midfielder Ntokozo "Shiloh" Tshuma, Episcopal (6-0) augmented its streak and reemphasized its standing as the area's best, trampling four-time defending Washington Catholic Athletic Conference champion Gonzaga, 3-0.
"We've been waiting for this game, we've been trying to schedule the game since before I came here but because of games we had in IAC and other tournaments we couldn't fit the match in," Tshuma said. "But Gonzaga has been a good program in soccer and we scheduled it just to test us this season and just prove ourselves. It was a game to prove ourselves, that's why we had a lot of fans coming out because everyone knows Gonzaga is good and we are trying to prove ourselves, [prove] that we're better."
Tshuma, who led the Maroon in scoring as a freshman but missed all of last season due to a knee injury, was undoubtedly the most impressive player on the field. Displaying a calm effectiveness in possession and a devastatingly quick first step paired with crowd-pleasing skill, Episcopal was most dangerous when Tshuma was on the ball.
He sat back for the majority of the first half. But when Tshuma took possession of the ball 25 yards from net in the 32nd minute, he needed just two touches to create enough space to find the far post and give Episcopal the lead.
Junior midfielder Ross Higgins scored two and a half minutes into the second half to increase the lead to three. Several big saves from Gonzaga goalkeeper Ryan Massey kept the Eagles (6-4) in the game.
Shutout streak survives
Oakland Mills senior Anna Kiely lined up an uncontested shot from the top of the box late in the first half of Tuesday's game at No. 2 River Hill. Kiely struck it soundly, the ball sailed over the outstretched arms of the goalkeeper, headed toward the net and . . . banged off the the crossbar.
The near-miss probably wouldn't have changed the outcome of a game River Hill eventually won 9-0. But those few inches of pipe holding up the netting kept the Hawks' season-opening shutout streak alive.
River Hill has started 5-0 with five shutouts - a run that's just recently grown long enough to capture the team's attention.