Walcott, Elizabeth Seton girls' soccer benefit from experience

By Andy Marso and Paul Tenorio
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, September 29, 2010; 11:41 PM

For the No. 7 Elizabeth Seton girls' soccer team, memories of last year's 4-9-5 season are fading like a bad dream in the morning.

The Roadrunners have already matched that win total this year, with a 4-1-1 record through Tuesday that includes a win Sept. 15 against then-No. 2 O'Connell.

"Last year we lost a significant amount of seniors . . . and we had like four pretty serious injuries that really hurt us," Coach Mellanie Nai said. "Part of [this year's turnaround] has been staying healthy and part of it has been just the maturing of the players who were here."

Among the maturing group, Nai singled out senior midfielder Nia Walcott. Walcott and her sister Amira (a junior at Eleanor Roosevelt) spent part of the past six months training with Trinidad and Tobago's under-17 national team.

"People may have had, so far, better midfielders in the sense that they're stronger and more physical, but I haven't seen anyone who can match her technical skill," Nai said. "She's unbelievable with the ball and she's very hard to defend."

Walcott, whose mother immigrated from Trinidad before she was born, often practiced three times a day in intense heat and traveled to South Korea and Brazil to face other national teams.

"It was definitely a lot more physical" than high school soccer, she said. "Very physical. There was just a lot of raw talent."

The Roadrunners start four senior captains - Cara Hamel, Aly Lee, Allie Reilly and Rebekah Hayes - on defense, in front of sophomore goalkeeper Jamie Abel. Aside from a 3-1 loss to No. 1 Good Counsel, the Roadrunners have allowed one goal.

"That's totally the backbone of our team," Nai said.

The Seton seniors are coming into their own three years after they won a school-record eight games as freshmen. They're on pace to break that record this year and possibly put together a dream season they won't want to forget in the morning.

Tempers flare

Monday's boys' soccer game between DeMatha and Gonzaga turned heated, as an Eagles defender was ejected for spitting "in the direction of the opponent," according to Gonzaga Coach Scott Waller, and several players were injured in the No. 2 Stags' 3-0 win.

Waller said he did not see his player spit, but the Gonzaga player was immediately ejected and was suspended for the next game, at Good Counsel on Tuesday.

"Gonzaga is very good about working with their kids," DeMatha principal Daniel J. McMahon said. "We trust that they'll take whatever action is appropriate for such an action."

Two DeMatha players went to the hospital with injuries, according to two sources, and Waller said four of his starters did not play in the Eagles' 1-0 victory at Good Counsel due to injury.

"DeMatha is physical and they played a physical game," said Waller, whose team is 8-5. "Our kids don't know how to do it, they're young, and when they tried to [play physical] it looked like it was cheap. Then [DeMatha] got a little cheap and the ref let things go, he didn't call anything and after a while kids were barreling into each other."

Said DeMatha Coach Dafydd Evans, "I'm very proud of our boys, our discipline has been great all year, our discipline was very good on Monday on an emotional night as those competitive games often are. We were happy with the way our boys performed and dealt with the situation, but there were situations there I wouldn't want my players to experience."

This was the second meeting of the season between the two rivals. DeMatha won, 2-1, at Gonzaga on Sept. 8.

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