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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

Girls Varsity Soccer falls 3-1 to Whitman in competitive match

Senior+Irena+Sanchez-Burgueno+faces+off+against+Whitman+senior+Riley+DeMartina.+After+scoring+her+first+goal%2C+Sanchez-Burgueno+worked+to+keep+the+momentum+going.++%E2%80%9CWe+did+well+in+dominating+the+play+in+the+second+half+through+pressing%2C+attacking+runs%2C+and+generating+scoring+opportunities%2C%E2%80%9D+Sanchez-Burgueno+said.
Photo Courtesy Girls’ Varsity Soccer
Senior Irena Sanchez-Burgueno faces off against Whitman senior Riley DeMartina. After scoring her first goal, Sanchez-Burgueno worked to keep the momentum going. “We did well in dominating the play in the second half through pressing, attacking runs, and generating scoring opportunities,” Sanchez-Burgueno said.

On Wednesday, Sept. 26, the girls’ varsity soccer team faced off against the Whitman Vikings in a long-anticipated game. Although they had a disappointing start to their season with a loss against Quince Orchard on Sept. 5, they corrected some technical errors to boost their record to 4-1, beating Wooton, Poolesville, Gaithersburg and Oakdale.

However, their most challenging competition was Whitman. With a deep team and outstanding offense, the Cats had to play their best against the Vikings. Unfortunately, they couldn’t endure, and fell to the Vikings 3-1.

The Cats began the first half defense-heavy, with the ball remaining on their side for most of the first half. The Vikings were on the board first and built upon their lead in the 25th minute with a goal scored on a corner by Renee Miller.

This season, the Cats have worked to perfect their corner defense.

“Corners have been a struggle for us, and they are something we have been working on a lot in practice recently. I think that we still have a lot of improvements to make when it comes to defending corners and scoring our own corners,” senior Emily Akpebu said.

The Cats answered the Viking goal in the 40th minute when senior Irena Sanchez-Burgueno, scored with an impeccable assist from junior Maya Panicker. The Cats left the first half with offensive momentum.

“It feels great to score against Whitman, but at that moment, I was mainly focused on transferring that momentum into the second half in hopes of getting a second goal early,” Sanchez-Burgueno said.

During halftime, coach Neil Gottlieb encouraged his team, coaxing them to continue their offensive power in the second half.

He offered constructive criticism for the girls, especially regarding corners.

“During halftime, we usually discuss what we have been doing well during the game and what we can do better. There is also a lot of constructive criticism so that we can help our teammates play better,” Akpebu said.

In the second half, there was a pretty equal distribution of offense and defense for the Cats. Attempting to even out the score, Sanchez-Burgueno, with a fantastic assist by sophomore Evie Avillo, took advantage of a clear shot to the net but was called off-sides. Sanchez-Burgueno had other sporadic shot attempts and a collision with the goalie in the 27th minute. Following this, Whitman goalie Skye Pratt left the game, only to return in the 29th minute.

In the 33rd minute, Whitman player Riley DeMartina scored to bring the score to 3-1. The rest of the game was a battle for the Cats, attempting to score two more goals in seven minutes. Unfortunately, it did not go their way, and they fell to Whitman 3-1.

Nevertheless, the team has hopes for the next time they face Whitman, they can create a new strategy for offense and defense. Concerning not giving away their game plan, Gottlieb provided an ambivalent response to his future strategy.

“There is likely very little we will see again that we saw in this game. We both will have different game plans and shake things up to keep each other off balance. I hope to devise a game plan that is more offensively heavy,” Gottlieb said.

The Cats finished the game with four shots on goal and two corner kicks. Senior keeper Federica Gavelli had an outstanding game with seven saves. Yet the Vikings overpowered with ten shots on goal and six corner kicks, keeping possession of the ball for 54% of the game.

The following game was on Thursday, Sept. 28, when the Cats faced the Blair Blazers. In a competitive game, the Cats lost 1-0. They hope for better luck at their next game, senior night, on Oct. 4 against the B-CC Barons.

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Mackenzie Norris, Print Sports Editor
Senior Mackenzie Norris is excited to particpate in her first year with the Pitch as Print Sports Editor and Business Manager. In addition to writing for the Pitch, Mackenzie enjoys representing WJ on the softball field with some of her best friends and teammates.
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