Sometimes all it takes is a little animosity. For Forest Park, a 5-1 win over Battlefield in the latest edition of a long-standing rivalry revealed the team’s best brand of soccer. After an up-and-down start to the season, it’s a style and a confidence the Bruins are looking to continue.
“We finally put a complete game together,” Coach Simone Qura said. “We wanted to make a statement, and we did.”
Qura said he’d had this game circled on his calendar for a long time. Not only is Battlefield a rival school that had beaten the Bruins in their two previous matchups, but also Qura’s cousin is a coach at Battlefield. He needed his team to back up all the trash talk he had texted in the weeks prior.
Injuries and a schedule affected by the weather put the Bruins in a weird spot to start the year — they were scoring goals and winning games but not feeling like they were playing to their full potential. Senior forward Johnny Eberle has been the main scorer, with seven goals on the year.
“I’ve been taking more shots this season, and my teammates have gotten me the ball in the right spots,” he said. “Battlefield was our best game of the year, especially in terms of moving the ball and countering with our speed.”
Eberle, a William & Mary commit, gets a lot of his feeds from senior midfielder Tyler Clegg, a James Madison commit. The two have been playing together since they were 10 years old, and Qura cites them as the lifeblood of the team’s offense.
“I’ve never seen anyone that can defend Johnny well,” Clegg said. “And we’ve developed such a chemistry together, I know where he’s going to be a lot of the time.”
Qura, along with assistant coaches Collin Smith and Matthew Parker, decided to really play up how important this rivalry game was to the players beforehand, trying to spark something in them. The result was a complete performance, one that the whole team hopes it can replicate over and over as the playoffs approach.
“We’re forming a better chemistry, better relationships,” Clegg said. “When that happens we think we can beat anyone in the state.”
1. Oakton (5-0-1) Last week’s ranking: 1
Senior forward Nick Berten scored both goals in the Cougars’ 2-1 win over Centreville.
2. W.T. Woodson (5-0-0) LW: 2
The Cavaliers kept their perfect season alive with wins over West Springfield and Lake Braddock.
3. Briar Woods (3-1-0) LW: 4
The Falcons put together back-to-back 5-0 wins against Stone Bridge and John Champe.
4. South Lakes (4-0-1) LW: 6
After salvaging a tie against Washington-Lee, the Seahawks used a late surge to take down Langley, 3-2.
5. Forest Park (5-2-0) LW: 7
The Bruins continued their inspired play against Freedom-Woodbridge, winning, 3-1.
6. Herndon (3-0-2) LW: 8
The Hornets continued their strong run through Liberty District play with a draw against McLean.
7. Battlefield (3-1-2) LW: 3
Before the loss to Forest Park, the Bobcats tied Woodbridge, 3-3.
8. Loudoun Valley (6-0-0) LW: NR
The undefeated Vikings have wins over Riverside, Loudoun County and Park View.
9. Stuart (5-1-1) LW: NR
Senior forward Angel Servellon scored in each of the Raiders’ last three games.
10. Washington-Lee (3-2-1) LW: 5
The Generals couldn’t take advantage of a 10-man South Lakes team, settling for a 1-1 draw Friday night.