Walter Johnson senior forward Hilaire Babou has worked with Coach Mike Williams on refining the mental aspect of his game this season. During a key test for the Wildcats boys' soccer team last night, Babou's work materialized in the form of a pair of goals and a win.
The speedy Babou scored the visiting Wildcats' first two goals as No. 9 Walter Johnson defeated No. 8 Bethesda-Chevy Chase, 4-0, in a Montgomery County nondivision game.
"He's not the player he was at the beginning of the season; he's much better," Williams said. "Now he's learning how to attack with speed. Now he's learning how to lay the ball off and get it facing forward, where he's most dangerous."
Walter Johnson was unbeaten before losing to Magruder on Oct. 6. Williams said that loss -- and a sluggish tie five days later against Richard Montgomery -- forced the Wildcats to regroup.
The Wildcats (9-1-2) found inspiration in the fact that the team played well even after a red card forced them to play a man down against Magruder. Walter Johnson then beat No. 6 Wootton, 3-1, on Friday before last night's win.
Bethesda-Chevy Chase (7-2) had shut out seven opponents entering the game and lost the only contest in which it gave up a goal (a 4-1 loss to Rockville). Knowing the Barons' reputation for defense, Walter Johnson worked in practice on finishing its scoring chances, and it paid off.
"We just had to believe in ourselves because we know we can [score]," Babou said. "We had to keep on attacking."
Babou gave Walter Johnson the lead in the fourth minute with a goal made possible by a superb fake by forward Lucas Szabo. One defender stood between Szabo and the goal when Szabo juked the defender and sent a cross to Babou from 12 yards. Babou settled the pass and drilled a shot into the goal from close range.
Babou struck again in the 23rd minute after Wildcats midfielder Dan Sullivan intercepted a clearing attempt about 30 yards from the goal. Sullivan settled the ball and crossed it to Babou, who had good position on the Barons' marking back. Babou corralled the cross and fired low into the goal, giving the Wildcats all the offense they needed.