W.T. Woodson striker Michael Lahoud saved his most dazzling performance for the Cavaliers' biggest game this season.
Lahoud, the All-Met Player of the Year, scored a hat trick to lead No. 3 W.T. Woodson to a 3-0 victory over previously unbeaten and top-ranked Lake Braddock in a Virginia AAA Northern Region boys' soccer semifinal last night at Westfield.
"He has become a special player," W.T. Woodson Coach Richard Broad said.
"That's what you have to do. Your marquee players have to be the people in the big games."
The Cavaliers (15-3-1) secured a berth in next week's state tournament and will play Westfield in the region final tomorrow at 6 p.m. at Westfield. For the second consecutive season, Lake Braddock (14-1-2) completed its season in the region semifinals.
Lahoud led a tremendous team effort by W.T. Woodson, which scored three goals against a Lake Braddock defense that had allowed only eight all season.
"We've had this game circled on our calendars basically since we started kicking the balls in February," Lahoud said.
Lahoud's first goal came in the eighth minute when he buried a shot from the top of the penalty area after receiving a pass from midfielder Ben Fuentes. In the 25th minute, Lahoud beat Bruins All-Met goalkeeper Dan Williams to a bouncing ball and flicked it off the right post and in. He completed the hat trick in the final minute.
"He's a great player," Lake Braddock All-Met defender Matt Weiler said.
"He can capitalize on any mistake that's made, and that's what he did today."
Westfield Extends Its Run
Westfield continued its late-season run with a 3-0 win over No. 5 Yorktown in the other Northern Region boys' semifinal. The Bulldogs (10-5-4) started the season 1-4, but they haven't lost a game since April 7.
"At the beginning of the season, we really weren't jelling as a team, per se," sophomore midfielder Pat Barthold said. "We always say play your best during the postseason. That's when you have to become a team the most."
Westfield controlled the play almost from the outset. Barthold scored on a breakaway in the 20th minute, and forward Bryan McAlister scored on a header four minutes later. McAlister's rebound goal in the 74th minute secured the win.
"I felt like after we got the run of play in the first 15 minutes," Westfield Coach Tom Torres said, "it seemed like things were clicking."
Markheim Lifts Osbourn Park
With one splendid move by freshman forward Derek Markheim and a game full of tough defense, No. 2 Osbourn Park pulled out a 1-0 win over Forest Park in a AAA Northwestern Region boys' semifinal in Manassas.
Markheim scored the game's only goal in the 24th minute. He dribbled around a defender to the right of the goal, then fired a point-blank shot. That shot was saved by the Bruins' goalie, but Markheim scored on the rebound.
"I just did what my brother and father have told me all the time," Markheim said. "They tell me to attack, and they tell me to make my move at the right time."
With the victory, Osbourn Park (19-0-1) earned its first trip to the state tournament since the 2002 squad advanced to the title game. The Yellow Jackets will host Gar-Field in the region final tomorrow. Forest Park (11-4-2) lost for the first time since a 1-0 loss to Osbourn Park on April 22.
Forest Park spent most of the game on the attack, but it could not get through the Osbourn Park defense, led by senior All-Met Phil Purdy. The Bruins took nine shots to the Yellow Jackets' seven, but rarely got a good look at the goal.
Onyeador Leads Potomac Falls
Potomac Falls earned a spot in the Virginia AA tournament with a 5-2 dismantling of defending state champion Charlottesville in its Region II semifinal. And the Panthers have forward Uche Onyeador to thank.
The freshman sensation netted a goal in each half and assisted on two others to propel No. 7 Potomac Falls (19-1-1) past the Black Knights (13-5-3). Onyeador's first strike put Potomac Falls ahead for good 20 minutes into the game, when he took a pass from forward Ben Biber and calmly rifled the ball into the back of the net. Minutes later, he returned the favor to Biber, setting him up perfectly for the Panthers' third goal in a 10-minute span.
Potomac Falls will host Harrisonburg, which defeated Stone Bridge, 4-1, in the other semifinal, tomorrow to decide the region championship.
"We know our offense is so good that we can score at any time," said Onyeador, who has 27 goals this season.
Harrisonburg got to within a goal with 15 minutes to play, but the Panthers got quick strikes from Onyeador and midfielder Diego Salazar to put the game away.
Special correspondents Sean P. Flynn and Charlie Moss contributed to this report.