Yorktown’s girls’ soccer team likes to “play the game beautifully,” Coach Mariano Alonso tells his players. At the high school level — where games are often won and lost by the speed to chase down through balls and gun past defenders — that doesn’t always mean a whole lot.
For the No. 4 Patriots, it means a sometimes uncomfortable degree of patience, and ball possession that elicits oohs and ahhs from even opposing parents sitting in the crowd.
“This team is special,” senior striker Kiely Westhoff said. “We’re a possession-style team, so we like to find each other and play to feet and be unselfish.”
Yorktown moves up and down the pitch in a pack, a group of a half-dozen players always one pass away from the ball. Players on the ball keep their sights downfield. Players off the ball drift into pockets of space. In the right scenario, the Patriots can hold the ball for minutes at a time.
In their 3-0 win Monday night at South Lakes, almost the entire second half was played on the Seahawks’ side of the field. Westhoff scored her fourth career hat trick on goals that showed every facet of Yorktown’s game.
She attacked a loose ball and drove in a shot from distance to open the action. Minutes later, she controlled a nice through-ball and chipped it over the South Lakes goalkeeper. In the match’s waning moments, she beat her defender wide and lofted a goal over the keeper.
“We’re working on her being patient to finish the plays, and she’s doing it great this year,” Alonso said. “She’s gaining a lot of confidence in her senior year and composure. The second goal, where she kind of chipped it over the goalkeeper, that was very nice, and she meant to do that. And there were other ones that didn’t work out, but she meant to do something specific.”
He wants Westhoff as a scorer to take the same mentality as the rest of the team moving up and down the field: Be aggressive but also settled, with a plan in mind.
That entire process usually starts with senior midfielder Meredith Beam, Yorktown’s go-to ballhandler with a propensity for escaping tight spaces and connecting a pass to the front line of the offense.
“She’s the spine, she’s the backbone of that system,” Alonso said. “She’s the glue in the midfield that keeps everything together, and everything else assembles on that backbone in the midfield.”
Battlefield walloped Forest Park, 6-1, on Monday. Carrie McIntire and Carter Corini each had two goals. … T.C. Williams scored three second-half goals Monday to push past West Potomac, 4-1. … The Raiders poured eight goals over Park View in an 8-0 win Monday night. … Julia Leas had a hat trick for Madison, and Maddie Cybulski scored twice more in a 6-1 win Monday against Fairfax. … Tuscarora bounced back from a loss to Broad Run with a 7-3 win Monday against Falls Church. … Anna Heilferty had two goals and three assists in Stuart’s 6-1 win over George Mason on Monday.
1. Battlefield (5-0) LW: 1
2. T.C. Williams (3-0) LW: 2
3. Loudoun County (4-0) LW: 4
4. Yorktown (3-0) LW: 6
5. Madison (3-0) LW: 7
6. Forest Park (2-1) LW: 2
7. Tuscarora (2-2) LW: 8
8. Briar Woods (2-0) LW: 9
9. Stuart (4-1) LW: 10
10. Oakton (1-1) LW: 5
Dropped out: none
Records through Monday.