Corky Logsdon, girls soccer coach at Woodward High School in Montgomery County, took time to converse before his environmental science class, which was about to engage in the enlightening discovery of how to concoct "dandelion salad."
The subject of the conversation, however, was soccer.
"It's scary," said Logsdon, of his team's 5-1 start. "Now I think people are looking at us as the team to beat. I don't know, that's a tough role to fill. And I'm not particulary comfortable with that.
It would not be exaggerating to say the Wildcats have completely dominated their opponents this season, save a first game loss to Rockville, 1-0. The Class B Wildcats have outscored the opposition 21-3, and three of the victories have been against AA schools. Included is a 4-1 victory over Churchill, a school that may be the best team in AA.
Bethesda-Chevy Chase is the only team to come close to beating Woodward since the Rockville loss. A main reason is the scoring of junior Brett Gardner, who has 11 goals. She had four against Springbrook, three against Sherwood and two in the Churchill game, which the Wildcats won, 4-1.
Her outstanding attribute is speed, and junior Katherine Londos, an all-county midfielder, has been particulary successful at passing her the ball. Against Churchill, Londos had two assists and Gardner scored on a typical break away. Gardner was surprised Woodward had such an easy time with the Bulldogs. Logsdon thought his team "caught them off guard.
"We played very much of a short passing game with intermittent cuts to use our speed. We practiced that for two days. We worked on breakaways so Brett would have more confidence. We hit three of six (breakaway attempts). That is a high percentage. It was a key to the game."
The defense has also played well and may be the difference in the playoffs now that the offense is developing. "We go back to (defensive midfielder) Gina (Calise), whose role is hard-nosed man-to-man defense. Gina's job is to mark their center midfielder, which is usually one of the better players. We started playing man-to-man defense last year and we use it across the board."
Paige Gardner, a center fullback, has been asked to cover the opposing team's best forward. And Annie Keister, whom Logsdon says has "exceptional speed and savvy," is strong at the sweeper position.
With six games left on their schedule, the Wildcats appear to be headed for another playoff appearance. They have a 51-4 record since 1981, including a county championship in 1982. There is no state tournament in girls high school soccer, only county playoffs.
"Corky is a lot of it," said Gardner. "I think there is a big difference between our team and other teams. Corky teaches a lot of skills. We do little things better, like dribbling and trapping. And we're a little more organized. We have more control of ourselves."
Katherine Londos, whose sister Emily plays forward, said, "Corky's a legend."
Which may be true, considering that few people before have attempted to create "dandelion salad."