The Sandy Spring Friends boys soccer team starts nine seniors. The St. Andrew's girls team has no seniors and will move into the Independent Schools League next year. The fact that these two top-seeded sides, which dominated yesterday's Potomac Valley Athletic Conference tournament finals at St. Andrew's, will not be around to repeat their performances should have the rest of the league breathing a collective sigh of relief.
Sandy Spring defeated St. Anselm's, 6-0, in the boys final, and St. Andrew's ran through Field School, 8-3, in the girls final before several hundred spectators yesterday in Potomac.
For Sandy Spring (16-1-1), it was the culmination of a four-year commitment by Coach Eduardo Polon to revitalize the program. For St. Andrew's (16-3), it was a statement that the Lions are ready to move to the more competitive ISL.
Bolstered by the enthusiastic support of dozens of banner-waving, drum-beating fans, Sandy Spring put third-seeded St. Anselm's (10-5) in a hole early with two goals from senior midfielder Peter LeFevre in the first four minutes. St. Anselm's trailed 4-0 after just 25 minutes and had no answer for the size and speed of forwards Ampofo Darko and Paul Bream.
"The team really communicated well," said Darko, who scored two goals despite outstanding play by St. Anselm's junior left back Russell Hill.
Sandy Spring sweeper Sergio Henry neutralized any deep advances by the Panthers. The rest of the defense did well to close down St. Anselm's midfielder Juan Bordon, who controlled the ball effectively but had difficulty finding places to pass.
"This team has been together for four years," Polon said. "We wanted to get the school to believe in something."
Two hours after Sandy Spring won its first title, St. Andrew's celebrated its fourth straight.
The Lions took a 3-2 halftime lead, but used the accurate ball distribution of sophomore midfielder Carolyn Ford and junior defender Jen Cantwell to run the Falcons ragged and score five more goals.
"We played with a lot of composure and had six different goal scorers. This was probably the best team effort we've had in a while," St. Andrew's Coach Glenn Whitman said.