Of Matt Hoy’s 14 goals this season, a large number have come when the Wootton senior simply yells “45” at his fellow striker, Jared Nozick, when the two are near the net. Their coach, Doug Schuessler, not only calls Hoy and Nozick the best forward tandem he’s had in his 18 years at the school, but also the “hungriest” to score. And one of their favorite schemes is to get a long ball out to the junior Nozick, who charges the net and often drops off a dime at a 45-degree angle for Hoy.
“The whole team knows we have this chemistry, and when it’s clicking, like, everyone can tell. And it’s on all the time,” said Nozick, who has scored five goals and recorded four assists through six games. “[Hoy’s] always shown me ways to play, and it’s really affected us.”
No. 4 Wootton (6-0) has scored 28 goals through six games, and has only given up three. Before beating Gaithersburg 7-1 last Thursday, when Hoy netted three goals, the Patriots won three consecutive games against Bowie, Northwest and Damascus by a combined score of 14-0.
Hoy, who is headed to Towson next fall to play lacrosse, is largely considered one of the best strikers in the area. He has scored at least two goals in four of Wootton’s six games this season, including a five-goal outburst against Bowie.
As the undisputed leader of the Patriots, Hoy has also witnessed Wootton’s struggle to break through in recent years, including last year, when a talented side was hamstrung with injuries. Six of the team’s starters were out for the season by the middle of the fall, with injuries ranging from a torn ACL to ankle frostbite. This year’s team is much healthier – and much more aggressive due to the relationship between Hoy and Nozick.
“I love putting in the effort in the final third to get that final tally,” Hoy said. “We make good runs off each other.”
Hoy is the more technical player who has dangerous speed, while Nozick is a self-described “dirty work” player who likes to win the ball physically. That’s what creates angles to score, said Nozick, and that’s what gives him such confidence in Wootton’s potent offense so early in the season. Wootton will face third-ranked Walter Johnson (5-0) on October 5, which Hoy calls the “real test, the real indicator.”
“Completely honestly,” said Nozick, “this year is the year for Wootton High School. I really do think so.”
The Washington Catholic Athletic Conference race tightened up last week as the top three teams — DeMatha, Gonzaga and Paul VI Catholic — posted two wins apiece. The Panthers beat O’Connell on Tuesday, 4-1, and spread the ball around offensively as Conor Coyle, Chase Mauck and Jimmy Skipper each recorded goals. St. Albans makes its debut in the rankings after beating Episcopal, 2-1, on Tuesday on goals by Arjan Ganji and Nick Notaro. Notaro has five goals in his last three games, raising his season total to nine. Severna Park remains unbeaten and has given up only four goals this season. The Falcons have registered shutouts against four of their last five opponents.
(Records through Tuesday.)
1. DeMatha (5-0-1) LW: 1
2. Gonzaga (6-0-1) LW: 2
3. Walter Johnson (5-0) LW: 3
4. Wootton (6-0) LW: 4
5. Paul VI Catholic (5-1) LW: 7
6. St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes (8-0-1) LW: 5
7. Marriotts Ridge (4-0) LW: 8
8. Whitman (5-0) LW: 9
9. Severna Park (7-0) LW: NR
10. St. Albans (6-0-1) LW: NR