Rockville 3, Wootton 1
For Rockville senior forward Everado Flores, last year's boys' soccer season was painful to watch. Because that was all he could do.
After a sophomore season in which he was Coach Abdel Makhlouf's most valuable player, Flores was academically ineligible last fall.
"It was really tough," Flores said. "Being on the side and watching the team playing and winning. And losing, I think it's even worse being on the side."
But this season, Flores is back, and he has made a huge impact for the Rams. Yesterday at Joseph B. Good Stadium in Rockville, Flores scored two goals -- his team-high ninth and 10th of the season -- to lead the Rams to a 3-1 victory over Wootton in a rough and often contentious Montgomery County nondivision game.
Yesterday's victory was the fourth in a row for Rockville (10-1), which is enjoying its best season in Makhlouf's four-year tenure. The Rams' three goals were one less than Wootton (7-3-1) had allowed in its first 10 games of the season combined. The Patriots had not yielded more than one goal in a game all year.
Flores' first goal came as the result of a virtuoso individual effort, and it gave the Rams a 1-0 lead in the game's ninth minute. With the ball on the end line to the left of the Patriots' goal, Flores maneuvered through two Wootton defenders and then threaded a shot just inside the near post.
Wootton, which played without four starters because of injuries and suspensions, tied the game early in the second half on a shot into the upper right corner of the goal from 25 yards by senior forward Robert Tarzy. But Rockville went back up on a goal by senior midfielder Michael Hirshernson in the 65th minute, and Flores provided insurance in injury time when he scored on a breakaway.
The Patriots dominated possession in the first half, outshooting the Rams 10-5. But Rockville junior goalkeeper Gopi Narang made seven saves and intercepted several crosses to keep Wootton scoreless before halftime.
The lack of scoring and the rough play seemed to frustrate Wootton, as three Patriots players picked up yellow cards for complaining to officials in the first half.
"Let's just say that the referees allowed this to be a violent game," said Wootton Coach Doug Schuessler. "It's not Rockville's fault. It's not Wootton's fault. It's the referees' decision as to what tone they'll allow to be established."