For senior Alex Watson, the message particularly hit home. Two summers ago, a four-wheeler accident put her career in jeopardy as she dealt with serious injuries to her head, pelvis, ribs, hip and finger.
Following a painstaking six-month recovery that forced her to miss a crucial lacrosse recruiting period and field hockey season, Watson returned to the field with a renewed perspective.
“It really made me appreciate life,” Watson said of the accident. “It could have gone a lot worse than it did go. . . . I know that it could end really easily, so it makes me always want to work my hardest.”
After McNemar reinforced that idea, Watson proceeded to seize the spotlight in sixth-ranked South River’s 16-13 win over No. 9 Severna Park. The LaSalle-bound attacker tallied a game-high five goals and an assist as the Seahawks dropped the Falcons to stay unbeaten and atop the Anne Arundel County standings.
Watson, one of six seniors who played on the 2010 state title winning team, came out firing with goals on her team’s first two possessions to give South River (11-2, 10-0) an early edge.
Severna Park (9-3, 8-2) managed to turn it into a back-and-forth contest before the Seahawks surged into the half with three straight goals in a 110-second span. All-Met Morgan Torggler paced the Falcons with four goals.
The Seahawks (11-2, 10-0) led nearly the whole way after Senft scored 65 seconds in off a feed from sophomore Gunnar Schimolar, but the defending Maryland 4A/3A champs took a while to get rolling on the offensive end.
Junior Tyler Haskell scored twice for Severna Park (9-4, 8-2).
Potomac Falls left-hander James Pearson struck out eight and walked none in a 10-2 victory over visiting Loudoun Valley. The win kept the No. 10 Panthers in the hunt for a third unbeaten Virginia AA Dulles District regular season in five years. But by the senior’s heightened standards, it was far from noteworthy.
“I always want to throw a perfect game,” said Pearson, who admitted he did not feel as loose as he usually does nor have his usual command. “I was really excited when [the perfect game] happened, but it’s kind of like every time I go out after that I kind of have to get it out of mind.”
Tuesday night was not exactly like April 16, when Pearson hurled his five-inning perfect game against Loudoun County. Nor was it his 13-strikeout, one-hitter against Loudoun Valley on April 2.
Even so, it was effective enough to keep Potomac Falls (13-2, 13-0) unbeaten in the district and to beat the Vikings (12-5, 10-3) for the fourth time in the teams’ last five meetings.
Potomac Falls collected 11 hits, nine of which came in their five-run first and fifth innings, when the Panthers batted around. Second baseman Jared Goldberg, shortstop Brandon Orbe, catcher Brendan O’Brien, all seniors, and junior first baseman Joey Larimer had two hits apiece.
Pearson, one of the top players in the area who has not yet committed to a college, moved to Loudoun County from the Outer Banks area of North Carolina before last season.
Though Bradley Keith is in the midst of his first and only season on DeMatha’s baseball team, it hasn’t taken long for the senior transfer to pick up on his teammates’ sense of resilience. And with No. 3 Riverdale Baptist unleashing a barrage of hits and home runs early in a nonleague matchup, Keith seized the chance to show just how much of that fighting spirit had rubbed off during his short time as a Stag.
After going 3 for 4 at the plate with a home run and three RBI, Keith struck out four of the eight batters he faced in the final two innings to seal No. 6 DeMatha’s 7-5 victory over the Crusaders (22-4) in Upper Marlboro.
“Right now, we’ve had a string of a couple of games where we got down early and stuck together and hung tight to pull out the win,” said Keith, who transferred from Severna Park last year. “We showed it again today. We never lost faith in what we were doing and just kept chipping away until we retook the lead.” DeMatha improved to 19-5.
As No. 4 Tuscarora’s most physical athlete on the pitch, Angel Ceron-Garcia doubles as the team’s most gifted scorer. The two attributes melded together seamlessly late in the first half against Loudoun County. With a smaller defender hounding his side, Ceron-Garcia picked up a loose ball about 25 yards in front of his opponent’s net — and after simply shouldering the Loudoun County player out of the way, he delivered a line-drive rocket into the lower left corner of the net.
It was an impressive score in traffic, and Ceron-Gracia’s body language after the goal suggested the play was routine. But it was also the centerpiece to a 1-0 win over rival Loudoun County in a key AA District Dulles affair in Leesburg, as the Huskies remained unbeaten and atop the district standings.
“Even my coach says, I’m too, like, big. Like I need to start going to the gym,” Ceron-Gracia said sarcastically, after his team improved to (10-0-2, 9-0-2). “I didn’t have any chance to pass the ball to my teammates, so I just took the ball and went through the defense.”
The teams tied 3-3 in their season opener back in early March in freezing conditions — and nearly two months later, on day when the field was moistened by showers — Loudoun County (8-2-2, 6-2-2) played fast and looked like a team capable of knocking off its crosstown rival.
For Tuscarora, which entered the game having earned clean sheets in four of its last five games and won its last three games by a combined score of 15-2, it was clear from the outset that goals would come at a premium. The Huskies struggled early to penetrate Loudoun County’s crowded defensive backfield.