If this season were a horse race, the Northwest boys soccer team is right where they want to be as the pack begins to make the turn for home and the finish line. The Jags are 4-3 with five games left to play this season. They are sitting in the sweet spot, waiting to catch up to the divisional leaders at the wire. While soccer is no horse race, it is better to be in the lead pack than trailing the field.
With wins over Sherwood, Poolesville, Clarksburg, and Gaithersburg, the Jags have put themselves in potential for post season play. The team’s most recent losses were to schools which are ahead in the standings. A 4-1 loss to Damascus last Thursday, and 3-1 loss to Wootton just this Tuesday.
“This team has the potential to be a better team, but a lot has to come together,” said head coach Kert Mease earlier this season. “Last year's team was excellent defensively. This year's group has a lot of work to do. That said, this team is probably more athletic with more offensive firepower. If we can sort things out defensively we can certainly be better.”
Mease is looking at senior forward Henry Gomez to spur the team into a top spot come playoff time. Gomez is a big part of the offensive firepower and is the team’s leading goal scorer often scoring multiple goals or assists in games. Gomez had a hat trick earlier this season against Poolesville putting three goals in the net in the first eight minutes of the game, to give the Jags a 3-1 victory.
“He has a great attitude and works hard,” said Mease of Gomez. “He is the guy that has stepped his game up. I am hoping that others join him as we go on. Also, sophomore Gavin Shirley has done well scoring two goals in our first game.” The Jags have also benefited from goals by junior forward Frankie Vieira, junior midfielder Michel Balou, senior middie Sulayman Jeng, and senior forward Alejandro Hernandez.
The Jags will host an unbeaten Quince Orchard team Thursday night with hopes of giving the Cougars their first loss. The Jags remaining schedule includes Seneca Valley (0-7) on Tuesday, Oct. 13, Springbrook (1-5-2) on Thursday, Oct. 17, Whitman (7-4) on Oct. 21, and they finish the regular season on the road at Blake (8-1) on Oct. 26.
UPDATE: The Jags defeated Quince Orchard 4-2 on Thursday night, handing QO their first loss of the season and improve to 5-3 on the season.
Top: Northwest’s senior Henry Gomez (10) scans the field for options during Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to Wootton.
Next: Northwest sophomore Nana Kumi (16) avoids an incoming slide tackle.
Photos by Mark Poetker for the Germantown Pulse.