W.T. Woodson was 17 days removed from its last game when it took the field on Tuesday night against Robinson, and the layoff, fueled by spring break and odd scheduling, had the potential to set a disastrous stage for the Cavaliers.
“It’s a weird early season for us,” Coach John McAuley said.
But McAuley knew he would be putting a new and revitalized lineup on the field, with the return of key senior midfielders in Scott Patterson, returning from an injury, and Chris Fanet, who was fully acclimated to the team after joining late due to his responsibilities as a guard on Woodson’s basketball team’s playoff run.
Fanet came up big Tuesday night, scoring his first goal of the season to help the Cavaliers to a 2-0 win over the Rams. Bryan Lutz added another score for Woodson, which received five saves from backup goalkeeper Nick Zohary, who earned his second clean sheet of the young season.
The Cavaliers, who finished 9-6-1 last season and exited in the first round of the Northern Region playoffs, are expected to be contenders in the AAA Patriot District, which boasts undefeated sides in West Potomac (3-0-1) and T.C. Williams (4-0). Shoring up the midfield with players like Fanet and Patterson is a key for McAuley, who still has one of the best backlines in the region despite a pair of key graduations thanks to versatile defender Michael Cherry and senior goalkeeper Carlos Canas.
Cherry, at 6-2 and 195 pounds, is a “man amongst boys” according to his coach, certainly Woodson’s most physically gifted player. He has become a luxury to McAuley, who said he likes to use the senior at forward to help build a lead, and then pull him back to the backfield to play defense later in the game, a scenario that has happened in two of Woodson’s first three games. Cherry, who was an honorable mention All-Met pick last season at forward, will play at American next season, while Canas, who has eight saves and didn’t play against Robinson, is committed to Longwood.
“He kind of gives you that special one or two saves per game that you know, most players may not make,” McAuley said. “He also gives you some offensive firepower because he can hit a ball 60, 70, 75, 80 yards sometimes from the back. And so the back becomes a set piece delievering to people like Cherry and Fanet, who are really good athletes.”
Oakton’s Jimmy Jameson scored off a set-piece with eight seconds remaining in overtime as the Cougars escaped McLean’s upset bid with a 1-0 win Tuesday. . . . Forest Park senior forward Andrew Jones scored his fourth goal in three games to help the Bruins defeat Woodbridge 4-1 Tuesday and remain unbeaten. . . . Herndon has won three straight games by a combined score of 9-1, including Monday night’s 3-0 win over Madison. Carlos Vasquez scored a goal to complement two assists, and goalie Keegan Fairchild registered nine saves – giving him 41 stops through five games, the second-most in the area.
1. Oakton (4-0) LW: 1
2. Lake Braddock (3-0) LW: 2
3. Forest Park (3-0) LW: 3
4. T.C. Williams (4-0) LW: 4
5. Tuscarora (Va.) (4-0-1) LW 7
6. South Lakes (3-1) LW 8
7. Herndon (3-1-1) LW 10
8. W.T. Woodson (2-1) LW NR
9. Hylton (3-1-1) LW NR
10. West Potomac (3-0-1) LW NR
Dropped out: No. 5 Osbourn Park (1-1-2), No. 6 Langley (2-1) LW 6, No. 9 Mount Vernon (0-1-1)
Bubble: Langley (2-1), West Springfield (1-1), Hayfield (3-0)
Records through Tuesdsay