After a ball he was fighting for went out of bounds early in Tuesday night’s 6A North region semifinal, Washington-Lee forward Maycol Nunez spit out his gum and punted it as hard as he could off the field. His frustration revealed the stakes of the match against upstart West Potomac — and it was also typical of Nunez, who is bound with energy on the field. He’s eccentric and colorful when he plays, and opponents have no idea what he’s going to do next.
Moments later, Nunez was kicking the ball into the net. He scored after using his thick frame to push through a throng of Wolverines defenders in the 21st minute — and he displayed his speed two minutes later, dribbling around West Potomac defenders for a two-goal lead.
Nunez completed his hat trick at a critical point in the second half, dropping in a left-footed volley after West Potomac had stormed back to tie the game — and Washington-Lee held on for 4-2 win at home in Arlington.
“We knew how important this game was,” Nunez said. “When the ball went in [on the third goal], I was like, ‘Thank you.’ ”
Rommel Romano added a goal for Washington-Lee (17-0-3), which kept its undefeated season alive with the win and clinched a berth to the 6A state tournament next week. The Generals will visit T.C. Williams on Thursday in the 6A North region title match, after the Titans beat Battlefield, 3-0, in the other semifinal Tuesday in Haymarket.
With the three goals, Nunez pushed his season total to 37 as he continued what may be the best individual season in school history. But he had to earn every inch against a resilient group from West Potomac (9-6-2) that upset Osbourn Park and top-ranked Oakton to reach the semifinal. After falling down 2-0, the Wolverines received goals from Nelson Flores and Daniel Damiani, who connected on a 50-yard goal off a set piece to tie the game as time expired in the first half.
“That team never gave up. That was great,” Nunez said. “Second half we always play better than first half. Always.”
Nunez was marked with a man on his back the entire match, and he received double- and triple-team attention for long stretches. He had a defender hanging on his back when he broke free for his third goal, pivoting toward the near post and creating enough space to get off the left-footed shot. It was his seventh match with three or more goals and his 10th multi-goal game.
“If he’s not doing it one way, sometimes he’s doing it another,” Washington-Lee Coach Jimmy Carrasquillo said. “I don’t like him with his back towards the goal. I like him when he’s going at people. . . . It makes it a little more difficult for him, but he’s still able to do it.”
● T.C. WILLIAMS 3, BATTLEFIELD 0: Junior Eryk Williamson scored a goal and added an assist to lead the Titans to a 3-0 road win over the Bobcats in Haymarket in the other 6A North semifinal.
With the win, T.C. Williams (16-2) advances to the 6A state tournament for the first time since 2002.
T.C. Williams dodged several scoring opportunities by Battlefield (13-4-1) off set pieces in the first half, and took the lead just before halftimeafter Williamson was fouled near the net. That set up a penalty kick by senior forward Akable Miezan, who converted for a 1-0 lead.
Williamson’s cross to senior Hector Alvarado made it 2-0 about 15 minutes into the second half, and the Titans slammed the door when Williamson scored about 20 minutes later. It was his 15 th goal of the season, and fifth in four games.
T.C. Williams has won its past four postseason games by a combined margin of 14-3, with its last loss coming to Washington-Lee on May 13.