Armand Delacruz was flipping through Westlake's score book in November when it dawned on him that he might have missed his best player.
As the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference soccer coaches were preparing to meet and vote on the all-conference team, Delacruz was assembling his players' statistics to lobby for their recognition. As he added up junior forward Konrad Hutt's totals, he was stunned.
How did this quiet kid score 20 goals and lead the conference?
"We didn't realize how many goals he was scoring until I did the nominations," said Delacruz, who checked his math just to make sure.
After Hutt easily landed on the all-SMAC first team, Delacruz thought a little deeper: If Hutt were to duplicate that goals total his senior year, he would break Ryan Russell's Westlake record of 40 goals.
Hutt is off to a great start. In addition to his three tallies as a sophomore, Hutt scored both of Westlake's goals in a 2-0 victory over Patuxent to open the 2005 season and added one in a 3-1 loss to Catonsville. Not only will 15 more goals give Hutt the record, but with the eight other returning starters, he could help give Westlake its second SMAC title in three seasons.
"I wasn't thinking that I could do that," Hutt said about the record. "I think it makes me more hungry. I'm not hungry for the goals. I'm hungry because I know the goals will help us win. When it comes to games, I want to score because I want to win."
Hutt seems an unlikely player to approach this mark. He was a role-playing midfielder his sophomore year, just after moving to the area from Northern Virginia. He played in the shadow of Russell, a forward who scored 27 goals and was a first-team All-Met as Westlake won its first SMAC and Maryland 3A South Region titles.
But last season, no Wolverine stepped forward to assume the scoring burden left by Russell. Or so it seemed.
Delacruz moved Hutt from midfield to forward.
"I think it was difficult for him to adapt to that change," said Westlake junior midfielder Mark Wysocki. "He's changed his position, and I think he knows he has to hold on to the ball and try to score. At the beginning of last season, he was a little unsure. But after a while, we started connecting, and everything was going perfect."
That wasn't as easy as it sounds. Hutt needed to be encouraged to take his terrific skills -- footwork, ball control and the ability to drive shots with either foot -- to the goal.
Once he did, Hutt became a force. There's no better example than the 3A South Region quarterfinal at Annapolis. With Westlake trailing 2-1 at halftime, Hutt scored three second-half goals to lead the Wolverines to a 4-3 victory.
That's when Hutt realized he had a knack for scoring.
"Now I'm always thinking about it during the game, how I can get there," he said. "I'm saying to myself, 'I'm going to make a run here.' I see every moment as a scoring opportunity."
McDonough Coach Matt Petricoin has seen it.
"He is all about attacking the goal," Petricoin said. "He's got a nose for the goal. He's very effective at it, and that's very difficult to instill in some kids."
Tell that to Russell, who teases Hutt about the record in e-mails.
"He said, like, 'Oh, man, you'll never get there. At least, I hope you don't. I want my record.' "