The Bethesda-Chevy Chase boys' soccer team's back line has been so good this season that junior goalkeeper Will Hanlon at times has had to do little more than observe.
But last night Hanlon often was in the middle of the action, making 11 saves to help the third-ranked Barons to a 3-0 victory over fifth-ranked Churchill on a slippery field in Bethesda.
"I've been playing baseball all my life, and I've got the hand-eye coordination from that," said Hanlon, who started playing goalkeeper as a freshman. "I just see the ball, and it's pretty easy to go get it."
Hanlon made seven saves in the first half, including a diving, one-handed stop of a header, and the Barons got two goals from senior forward David Rowan and a goal and an assist from senior Pierre Pont. Their victory came on senior night -- particularly special for a Barons team that has 14 on the roster who have played together for years.
Last night's game pitted the top two public school teams in Montgomery County -- Churchill (9-2-1) has clinched the Montgomery 4A West Division title and had won eight straight games before last night, and B-CC (9-1) has yet to lose on the field (its only loss came via forfeit) and has surrendered just two goals all season. The game lived up to advance billing and was evenly played until the Barons tacked on insurance goals in the 77th and 78th minutes.
"In all honesty, it could have gone either way," B-CC Coach Doug Davies said. "They're a heck of a team. . . . But I love my boys, and I think they can play against pretty much anyone."
B-CC's game-winner, in the 54th minute, was exquisite. Pont gathered the ball in the left corner of the Bulldogs' end, threw several fakes at a defender to create space and then served a ball into the center of the field to Rowan, who headed it into the net in stride.
Urbana senior midfielder Caitlin Lee scored a career-high three goals to lead the fifth-ranked Hawks to a 6-1 victory over fourth-ranked Good Counsel in a nonleague girls' soccer game last night in Ijamsville.
Urbana junior forward Jennifer Ruhe added a goal and two assists as four players scored on a rain-soaked night in which the Hawks dominated the Falcons (11-3-1), who had allowed just nine goals in 11 games coming into this game.
"Did I expect it to go like this? Absolutely not," Urbana Coach Chuck Nichols said. "In conditions like this, either you adapt to it or you don't. If I could hit the button to have our team play like we did tonight, I'd be coaching the national team. This was definitely the best game we have played all season."
After Urbana (9-3-1) took a 1-0 lead on a goal by junior midfielder Lindsay Hickman in the 24th minute, Lee extended that lead in the 35th minute. She received a pass from Ruhe in the middle of the penalty box and spun past her defender before delivering a shot into the upper-left corner of the goal, giving her team a 2-0 lead at intermission.
Urbana sophomore defender Julianne Lapsa pushed the lead to 3-0 less than five minutes into the second half, when senior defender Abby Bishop's free kick from 25 yards away deflected off the goalie's hands right to Lapsa, who knocked it into the goal.
Good Counsel avoided the shutout when junior Vicki Anagnostopoulos scored on a free kick from just outside the penalty box in the 50th minute, but Ruhe and Lee countered with goals in the next five minutes to put the game away.
"We always knew we were a good team, so we just came out here and wanted to take care of business," said Lee, who capped the scoring with a goal in the 66th minute. "This was a great team effort and it gives us a lot of confidence and momentum for the rest of the season."