No. 1 Whitman and No. 3 Churchill don’t play until next month, but every local soccer fan should mark it on their calendar. Not only is it a great rivalry, with the schools less than 15 minutes from each other and a long history of great matchups, but this game will include some of the biggest storylines, that may shape the Maryland soccer scene this fall.
For one, both of those teams look to be very good. Top-ranked Whitman opened their season with a win over DeMatha before falling to an out-of-town opponent, even Churchill coach Arnold Tarzy has labeled them as “the team to beat.”
The Bulldogs are undefeated so far, with wins over Urbana, Magruder and R.J. Reynolds (N.C.). They’re bringing back playmakers like forward Aria Ahadpour and midfielder Bryan Murphy. There’s also quite a bit of excitement about new addition Shawn Diboti.
Last year, Whitman beat Churchill 2-1 in the regular season and then they both lost in the state playoffs to eventual champion B-CC.
“We didn’t like the end result last year but we didn’t deserve to beat B-CC,” Whitman coach Dave Greene said.
With Montgomery County looking strong again this year, especially the 4A West region, that playoff quadrant might be the most important of the whole bracket. Last year, there was so much talent in one area that some of the area’s best teams effectively canceled each other out come playoff time. It looks like that may happen again this year, so every regular season match will carry great importance for seeding.
1. Whitman (1-1-0) Last ranked: 1
The Vikings paid for an ambitious non-conference schedule this weekend, falling to national powerhouse St. Benedict’s (N.J.), 2-1.
2. Gonzaga (3-0-0) LR: 2
Junior defender Mark Western found the net as the Eagles’ opened up WCAC play with a strong 3-0 win over Good Counsel.
3. Churchill (3-0-0) LR: 4
Forward Aria Ahadpour had two goals and one assist as the Bulldogs blew out Magruder 6-1.
4. Bethesda-Chevy Chase (1-0-1) LR: 5
After starting the year with a strong win over Northwest, the Barons tied with Paint Branch.
5. Landon (1-1-0) LR: 3
The Bears bounced back from a season-opening loss to The Heights by beating DeMatha 2-1.
6. Severna Park (2-1-0) LR: 6
Last year, the Falcons made it to the state finals before losing. A tougher schedule this year resulted in a 1-0 loss to Gonzaga in the second match of the season.
7. River Hill (1-0-0) LR: 9
Alex Krause had a goal and an assist as the Hawks beat Winters Mill 3-0 to open their season.
8. The Heights (4-0-0) LR: NR
The Cavaliers have started this season on a tear, taking down DeMatha and Landon en route to a 4-0 start.
9. Bowie (1-0-0) LR: 10
After beating Atholton 1-0, the Bulldogs will face Meade this weekend in the finals of the Meade Fall Classic.
10. Meade (2-0-0) LR: NR
Tosin Ayokunle had three goals in the Mustang’s 4-1 win over Annapolis.
All records through Tuesday.