Whitman (left), pictured ahead of a 2015 playoff loss to Walter Johnson, is out to reestablish itself as the area’s top team. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

Last season, Whitman took each opponent’s best shot. As everyone aimed to take down the defending state champions, the Vikings proved to be an easy target.

The team finished with a pedestrian 9-7 record and lost to Bethesda rival Walter Johnson in the Maryland 4A West region quarterfinals.

Ahead of this season, the Vikings did not dwell on disappointment. With nine state titles in its trophy case, the Whitman boys’ soccer program has the luxury of looking back on a long track record of success to find inspiration.

“We mostly talk about seasons where we have won the title, and use them as examples of the hard work that is necessary to succeed,” senior goalkeeper Evan Cameron said. “As a team we focus much more on the way in which we play than the result of our games. Some teams in Whitman history have lost the majority of their season games and gone on to win the state title.”

On Saturday night, Whitman played with relentless defensive pressure and clinical composure on the ball. The result of an exceptional early-season performance was a 2-1 win over three-time defending Washington Catholic Athletic Conference champions DeMatha. On the first weekend of the season, the Vikings defended home turf to reclaim top billing in the area.

“We can’t let complacency kick in. We beat a big opponent and we’ll celebrate for a night, but then it’s back to work,” senior forward Andreas Djurhuus said.

Two minutes into the game, Djurhuus pounced on an under-hit back pass, held off a defender, and slid a pass to Adam Deutchman who opened the scoring. With 15 minutes remaining, Djurhuus cut inside form the left wing, kept his balance as a defender fouled him, and rifled a right-footed curler into the bottom left corner from 25 yards out. The Stags — who entered the game riding a 12-game winning streak — were left stunned as Djurhuus made his way to the track to celebrate in front of Whitman’s packed student section.

“Playing under pressure is always something that I’ve thrived on, hearing the crowd and stuff gives me an extra adrenaline boost,” said Djurhuus, who followed up a goal in the state championship game as a sophomore with 14 tallies as a junior. “I was lucky to be able to stay on my feet and get into shooting position. That strike was one in a million.”

With 10 minutes remaining DeMatha’s Ross Brandon forced in a loose ball off a corner kick to set up a tense finish, but Cameron and the Whitman defense held strong. DeMatha uncharacteristically never established consistent spells of possession.

“It was the second game of the season, so there were some high nerves, but I’m happy that we were able to concede and then bounce back and finish the game,” said Cameron, who made five saves. “That’s an awesome way to start the year, but come our next practice, it’s immediately right back to work. We beat a big opponent, but we have to improve and hopefully bring it all the way to states.”

The Big number: 5

Assists for Blake playmaker Oscar Rodriguez. The senior midfielder has also scored three goals during the Bengals’ 2-0 start to the year.

Player of the week

F/MF Zachary Wittlinger, Grace Christian Academy, Jr.

The area’s top scorer to date, Wittlinger has already seven goals through four games — all of them victories. See the full leaderboard here.

The Post Top 10

Meade opened up the season with an 8-0 rout of Chesapeake Science Point. . . . Watkins Mill topped Damascus, 2-1. . . . Blake has outscored its opponents 12-0 in two wins. . . . Leonardtown rolled over Westlake, 13-1.

1. Whitman (2-0) Last week: 4

2. Meade (1-0) LW: 2

3. Watkins Mill (1-0) LW: 3

4. DeMatha (1-1) LW: 1

5. Mount Hebron (1-0) LW: 5

6. Walter Johnson (0-0) LW: 6

7. Blake (2-0) LW: NR

8. Gonzaga (0-0) LW: 8

9. Eleanor Roosevelt (0-0) LW: 9

10. Leonardtown (1-0) LW: 10

Dropped out: No. 7 Broadneck (0-1)

On the bubble: Centennial (1-0), Huntingtown (2-0), Magruder (1-0)

Records through Tuesday.