Twenty minutes into Monday’s game against Robinson, Yorktown found itself on the verge of defeating the Rams for just the second time in eight seasons, and doing so in dominant fashion on the road. The Patriots entered the match with four shutouts in five games, and made an offensive statement by tallying three goals in the opening minutes of the game.
What transpired next, however, provided proof that Yorktown still has a long way to go, said Coach David Wood, but also revealed a team that might have the makeup for a special run this spring. After Robinson responded with three straight goals to tie the game late in the second half, Yorktown turned to its senior captain Joe McCreary, who booted in a cross for the game-winner with about two minutes to play.
“It shouldn’t have gotten to that point,” McCreary said. “It was huge to beat that school because we haven’t had a good record with them as of late.”
After a narrow 3-2 loss to West Springfield last month, the sixth-ranked Patriots (5-1) have now won four straight - including wins over Edison, Westfield and top-ranked Oakton last week. That 1-0 win against the Cougars was the most impressive shutout yet, with a backline overcoming numerous Oakton opportunities and goalkeeper Peter Dola coming up with five saves.
It was exactly the type of contest Yorktown might have lost a year ago, when the Patriots started the season 1-5-2 and ended up with just four wins. They produced just 22 goals in 18 matches (while giving up 39), but Wood was able to rebuild his roster with a core of returning upperclassmen and four former players who left their respective acadamies to play for the Patriots.
“I knew those kids would be a big part of the offense,” Wood said. “The big thing was finding the right shape and formation that these guys could fit in. . . and it’s really worked out well for us this season.”
One of those players is McCreary, a James Madison signee who left McLean Academy to play for the school team this spring. He’s the catalyst for an offense that is much improved from last season, having already scored 14 goals in six games. McCreary has goals in two of those contests, as well as two assists, while senior Michael Monahan, who played for the D.C. United Academy last years, posted goals in the team’s first four games.
Yorktown will close out the month with a difficult regular season schedule, including Thursday’s home contest against Hayfield and back-to-back road tests at Lake Braddock and No. 7 Mount Vernon after the team takes spring break next week.
“Coming into the season, I had high expectations for me and my team,” McCreary said. “So far, we seem to be fulfilling them. Personally I’ve been doing what I can to help this team win and hopefully I can keep doing it for the rest of the season.
“I think if we keep it up, we have a serious chance at winning our conference and going on, hopefully to a state championship. That would be crazy.”
After shutting out Dominion 1-0 on Tuesday night, Tuscarora (Va.) has three consecutive clean sheets and has won its first six games by a combined margin of 18-2. . . . Chantilly had scored six goals in its last two games heading into Wednesday night’s match at Oakton. . . . Collin Verfuth scored his fourth goal of the season to help Briar Woods remain undefeated with a 3-1 win over Heritage last week. . . . Tony Mosqueria and Brandon Clegg each scored goals to help Forest Park beat Osbourn Tuesday.
1. Oakton (5-1-1) LW: 1
2. Tuscarora (6-0) LW: 3
3. Mount Vernon (1-0-2) LW: 2
4. West Springfield (4-1) LW: 4
5. Chantilly (3-1) LW: 5
6. Yorktown (5-1) LW: 8
7. Briar Woods (4-0) LW: 7
8. Battlefield (5-0-1) LW: 9
9. T.C. Williams (5-0) LW: 10
10. Forest Park (3-1) LW: 6