The Mount Vernon boys' soccer team had won a total of eight games through midfielder Paul Tenorio's junior year, yet the Majors and their senior captain handled the pivotal moments of yesterday's W.T. Woodson spring break tournament final like seasoned winners.
When it was over, and Tenorio's 77th-minute goal had lifted Mount Vernon to a 1-0 triumph over the host Cavaliers, the ninth-ranked Majors joyously lifted the trophy at midfield and loudly celebrated like first-time champions.
"Before the game I gathered the team together. . . . I told them that this was the first chance to show what we had when we're under a bit of pressure," Tenorio said.
After years of struggle Mount Vernon (6-0-2) cemented its place as a Virginia AAA Northern Region contender thanks to a commanding performance against quality opposition.
The Majors and freshman goalkeeper Jean-Claude Mutumo, who had three spectacular saves in the second half yesterday, did not yield a goal during the four-day competition.
Mount Vernon also learned to diversify an attack that had relied largely on freshman forward Chernoh Diallo, who scored 12 goals in his first four games. Diallo scored just once this week.
He was held at bay yesterday by sophomore defender Brendan Murphy, a quick marking back who was among the bright spots for the Cavaliers (2-3-3). W.T. Woodson was unable to make its early possession count, and Mount Vernon took its late lead when Diallo settled the ball and slipped it back for Tenorio.
It took only three batters and about a half-dozen pitches yesterday for the O'Connell softball team to remind Bishop Ireton of its domination of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference.
No. 7 O'Connell jumped to a two-run, first-inning lead at Hensley Park in Alexandria and then held on for a 4-3 victory in a battle of undefeated teams. It was the Knights' 54th straight WCAC regular season win.
Sitting on first-pitch deliveries from senior right-hander Jessica Luckett, who entered not having allowed an earned runs in nearly 60 innings this spring, the Knights (12-0) lashed three consecutives hits in the first inning. The key blow was Nicole Simons's hard line drive single to center field that was played into a three-base error. On the hit, Simons circled the bases behind Trish Sexauer, who had smashed a single off the glove of Luckett one batter earlier.
That lead seemed to be enough, as O'Connell left-hander Cara L'Etoile worked through only mild threats from the Cardinals, who entered averaging more than 10 runs per game.
With a stiff wind blowing directly to left field, L'Etoile doubled her team's lead by blasting a two-run home run over the left fielder's head in the sixth.
The Cardinals (10-1) rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh, taking advantage of some suspect infield play to push across one run. Beth Dalmut then cracked a two-out, two-run single to make it 4-3. L'Etoile next got Amada Boccie to ground out to second base to secure the victory.