Three weeks have passed since Gonzaga beat DeMatha in penalty kicks in the WCAC championship game , allowing coach Scott Waller ample time to reflect on the win that shattered the Stags’ 62-game unbeaten streak and cemented the Eagles’ finish atop the Post’s boys' soccer rankings.
But instead of resting on his laurels from this fall, Waller is already looking ahead to what awaits his club next season — which will almost certainly include one of the toughest schedules in the country again. Gonzaga (18-1-1) not only went on the road to play national powers Regis Jesuit (Colo.), Rockhurst (Mo.), Don Bosco Prep (N.J.) and Delbarton (N.J.), but it shutout all four teams, winning by a combined score of 11-0. The Eagles were never tested in the month of October or in their first two games of the WCAC tournament – winning nine games by a combined score of 46-3 before meeting the Stags (16-1-1) in the title game. Gonzaga has won five of the last seven WCAC championships.
“I was hoping for the best this year. I had great kids,” Waller said. “Five out of seven is not bad.”
Waller will lose plenty of talent, including forward Nicko Corriveau (11 goals, 13 assists, committed to Virginia), midfielder Ian Harkes (eight goals, eight assists, committed to Wake Forest) and midfielder Conor Smith (12 goals, 11 assists, committed to Lehigh), but he has built his program to bear the brunt of graduation losses each season. He doesn’t allow any players to rotate between the freshman, junior varsity and varsity squads at Gonzaga, and he requires that each coach on his staff is a teacher at the school, which he said helps build continuity.
Defender Chase Gasper (nine goals, two assists) will return next fall to anchor the defense, and help lead ascending junior varsity players who Waller believes are ready to carry the torch.
“We’re a little more cyclical,” Waller said. “We kind of run the same set-pieces. We have the same coaching philosophy from freshman, all the way to the best player on varsity.”
The Post Top 10
In its final six games, 4A state champion Wootton registered three shutouts and outscored opponents 24-3 in that stretch, which included a 1-0 overtime win over defending state champions Walter Johnson in the 4A west regional final and a 3-1 victory over Severna Park in the title game….St. Albans goalie Luke Duffy provided the game-winning penalty kick in the inaguraul DCSAA championship game over Maret, just two weeks after sealing the IAC championship with a diving save in penalty kicks against Landon….Reservoir’s dramatic 3-2 overtime win over Urbana in the Maryland 3A final capped their stellar late-season run.
1. Gonzaga (18-1-1) LW: 2
2. DeMatha (16-1-1) LW: 1
3. Wootton (17-1-1) LW: 7
4. Marriotts Ridge (17-0) LW: 3
5. St. Albans (18-2-1) LW: 5
6. Reservoir (13-6) LW: NR
7. Severna Park (18-2) LW: 6
8. Walter Johnson (14-2) LW: 6
9. Maret (12-5-1) LW: NR
10. Paul VI Catholic (12-6) LW: 9