Bethesda-Chevy Chase goalkeeper Matt Harrell had 29 saves in regional soccer playoff victories against Walter Johnson and Kennedy, leading the Barons to the Class AA Region II title.

Harrell, a junior who had never played organized soccer before this year, wasn't even in Coach Gene Hostetler's plans at the outset of this season.

"We were two weeks into tryouts and Matt hadn't even come out yet," said Hostetler. "Then he showed up and asked if he could play goalkeeper. He's played every game since."

These last two games are an example of what he's been doing all year," said Hostetler. "He's the one that has been keeping us in the game. Without Matt in there, I don't think we could have beaten Walter Johnson or Kennedy."

"Matt doesn't have all the moves that so many goalies have, but they don't have his natural instinct. Pure and simple, Matt is our franchise."

Harrell, a starting catcher on the baseball team the past two seasons, decided to play soccer because "it was just something to do in the fall."

"It was really incredible," said the 6-foot-2 Harrell. "I was very nervous. I knew the coaches trusted me and I didn't want to let them down."