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The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

Cat fight: Wildcats pounce undefeated Jaguars

Photo courtesy Thomas Murphy
WJ senior striker Loic Nsoga-Mahob skillfully moves past Northwest junior defender Noah Henseler to score the game-winner in overtime. Nsoga-Mahob has scored the game-winner in three of the team’s past four games.

Dribbling the ball over 80 minutes into an intense game, junior defender and captain Jakob Lindsey finds an opening. Kicking it high in the air, the ball soars from WJ’s defensive half to the attacking half, where it finds the deft touch of senior striker Loic Nsoga-Mahob. On a breakaway with defenders in chase, Nsoga-Mahob finds the back of the net despite the diving effort of the goalie to seal the game in the Wildcats’ biggest win of the season.

Boys’ soccer upset the undefeated Northwest Jaguars 2-1 in overtime on Monday, Oct. 16 in what was the Jaguar’s first regular season defeat in over a year. This win guaranteed the Wildcats at least the third seed in the regional postseason tournament and simultaneously clinched the home-field advantage for playoffs.

The Wildcats entered the game on a three game win streak notching wins against BCC, Churchill and Richard Montgomery. On the other hand, the Jaguars entered their senior night game with a 10 game, undefeated win streak including key wins over Quince Orchard and Whitman.

The game opened with an early goal from Northwest senior defenseman Carter Mostrom on a penalty kick.

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“When those types of things happen, especially early in a match, you just gotta keep your composure and not even think about it. It may as well just be 0-0 … I think you just gotta keep acting like the score is level, and go on about as you’re just trying to score as many goals as possible,” senior goalie Will Karasik said.

The Wildcats rallied back with a goal from senior right back Leo Holma assisted by junior center midfielder Gianluca Benavides to tie the game before the end of the first half.

“To be honest, I just saw the position [Holma] was in. He had a lot of space in front of him and I just gave them the ball. So, it felt amazing,” Benavides said.

Throughout the entire game, defense remained key for the Wildcats. The Wildcats had maintained a goal differential of +10 entering the game and had not conceded a goal since their 2-1 loss to Blair on Sept. 28.

The game remained tied at the end of the second half, and continued into overtime. MPSSAA rules dictate that each overtime period lasts 10 minutes and be played as sudden-death.

Midway through the first overtime period, the long ball from Lindsey set up Nsoga-Mahob for the game winning goal.

“So I had the ball, and there was a man coming to my left, so the ball was on my right foot. I figured I’d put one just behind their defense, and just hopefully Loic could get onto it, and he got onto it, and scored,” Lindsey said.

Nsoga-Mahob emphasized the importance of Lindsey’s long ball in setting up the goal.

“It was like a really good long ball from [Lindsey] and yeah, we just took advantage that their center backs weren’t really big and tall,” Nsoga-Mahob said.

With a one against two breakaway, Nsoga-Mahob wove past Northwest defenders junior Noah Henseler and sophomore Antonio Conte to shoot it in past the outstretched hands of diving goalie freshman Ryan Gelissen. Gelissen subbed in for second-string goalie senior Ricardo Rojas at halftime, who started the game due to it being the team’s senior night.

“[The goal] meant a lot … And for me, it means a lot too. Cause I’ve been on varsity for four years. It’s like, it’s really good to finally be like [a] main player,” Nsoga-Mahob said.

Nsoga-Mahob has had an impressive senior season, recording many important goals including a hat trick against Poolesville, the game winner against BCC and a double overtime game winner on the team’s senior night game against Churchill.

The team beat Damascus High School 1-0 in its final game of the regular season on Thursday, Oct. 19. Damascus entered the game with a 10-1 win-loss record with their sole loss going to Northwest. The lone goal against Damascus came from senior Sidney Scale with a header in the 68th minute while goalie Will Karasik recorded his fourth clean sheet in five games.

With the Wildcat’s final 8-4 record in the regular season, they clinched the thirrd seed in the regional tournament. Despite having the same 8-4 record as second seed Whitman, the teams loss to Whitman earlier in the season gave Whitman the higher seed. The team will start their regionals campaign by playing sixth seed Gaithersburg on Wednesday, Oct. 25.

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Elizabeth Finn
Elizabeth Finn, Print Managing Editor
Junior Elizabeth Finn is a Print Managing Editor in her third year on The Pitch. Outside of The Pitch, Elizabeth runs for the cross country and track team at WJ.
Seyun Park
Seyun Park, Print Editor-in-Chief
Junior Seyun Park is in his third year of the Pitch, happy to join this year as a Print Editor-in-Chief. Outside of Pitch, Seyun plays tennis and cello, and likes to follow hockey.
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