The past two weeks have been big ones for Huntingtown, starting with its first-ever win Sept. 30 with a 3-1 victory against visiting Chopticon. On Tuesday, the Hurricanes beat La Plata, 2-0.
Huntingtown's first victory marked a positive change for the Hurricanes (2-6), a first-year program that has struggled, losing its first five matches. The Hurricanes fell to Westlake, 5-2, on Friday.
The team's home field was not completed until last week. Before that, the Hurricanes were forced to practice on a tiny makeshift field that makes adjusting to bigger game fields difficult.
Head Coach Jason Monroe said these factors could have easily contributed to the team's slow start.
But against Chopticon, things began to turn around. Junior striker Bryan Shearer led the Hurricanes with two goals against the Braves. The team garnered its second straight win led by senior forward Chris Cleary, who scored the first goal of the game and his first of the season just midway into the match.
Cleary, the only senior on this year's team, transferred from Calvert, where Monroe said he did not play for the varsity squad last season.
"I think we could have just chalked up our season as a building year, and being just another first-year program no one was expecting us to win," Monroe said. "But we have some talent on this team, and all it's taken is the kids to start coming out of their shells and start playing together. . . . You can see the difference now [after two wins] because the kids are more jovial now."
Raiders Roll Up 2 Wins
Leonardtown had an equally impressive week, with key victories against two of the SMAC's toughest teams.
On Monday, Raiders coach Bruce Henderson said Leonardtown put together its "most complete game of the season" to defeat Lackey, 3-0. Then on Thursday after the Raiders' 3-2 overtime win against Calvert, Henderson called the victory "the most gutsy performance of the season."
The Raiders' victory over Lackey was keyed by senior Tim Smith's dogged defense of Lackey senior A.J. DeLaGarza, who played forward.
The Raiders (5-3-2, 4-2-2 SMAC) also benefited from the goalkeeping of Mitchell Haverkamp. Leonardtown's victory against Calvert (4-4, 3-3) came thanks to a flurry of goals late in the second half and overtime. After trailing 2-0 midway through the second half, senior midfielder Leland Raum notched the Raiders' first goal. And with 10 minutes remaining, freshman forward Sean Buckley scored his second goal of the season to make it 2-2.
Senior Peter Krech scored the game-winner seven minutes into overtime. Guts and consistency seem to have powered the Raiders through last week, but Henderson said he believes Leonardtown has made a turnaround, thanks to a 5-4 loss to Westlake on Oct. 1.
In that game, the Raiders trailed 5-0 ten minutes into the second half but regrouped to pour in four goals.
"I think that gave them some confidence, because they realized what they were capable of doing if they put their minds to it," Henderson said. "We have also had some younger players contribute, and we have had some good support off our bench."