The Northwest girls’ soccer team won the 4A/3A West Division with a 2-1 victory at Wootton on Thursday night.
“Winning the division means a lot to us,” said Head Coach Josh Kinnetz. “This is the second division title in our program history and it has happened within the last three seasons. It's vindication of the hard work the girls have been putting in and the progression of the program. The program is owning a champion's mentality. It's a stepping stone and dress rehearsal for the process of winning a state championship.”
The Lady Jags haven’t lost all season and haven’t allowed opponents to score more than one goal since the first game of the season. A 3-2 victory over Hereford High School in the Lancer Invitational Tournament at Linganore High School way back on Sept. 2. The second game of the that tournament would be the Lady Jags only non-win, a 1-1 draw against Marriotts Ridge on Sept. 3.
Once the Jags got to their regular season they have been blowing through the Montgomery County opposition. The Lady Jags have outscored opponents 39-8 this season, with goals from 12 different players on the roster.
Junior striker Leanna Choo leads all scorers with 10 goals and one assist, followed by senior midfielder and captain Samantha Sekscienski and junior forward Heather Markiewicz each with seven goals. Sekscienski also has eight assists, while Markiewicz has 5 assists on the season.
“This team's soccer IQ has been its defining characteristic along with its innate ability to turn a game on its head,” said Kinnetz. “The player combination of Leanna Choo, Syd Glad, Heather Markiewicz and Sam Sekscienski have a Harvard soccer IQ. That combined with their technical ability and athleticism make for a highly potent offensive. I've never coached a more offensively explosive team with such dynamic movement in the attacking third. It's a thing of beauty and awe when they click and turn it on.”
The Lady Jags have been tearing through the 2017 season, but arguably, the five final games of this season might be the hardest stretch of their schedule. Of the final five games, four teams have winning records.
But, Northwest has started the final push strong. It began with a 3-0 victory over a Damascus team that has been 5-1 prior to meeting the Jags on Wednesday, Oct. 5. That was followed the next day by playing on the road against a Wootton team that was 6-1 prior to that game on Thursday, Oct. 6. The Lady Jags would hand Wootton their second loss of the season.
They will host 2-7-1 Springbrook on Thursday, Oct.13, followed by a road game at perennial powerhouse 6-1-1 Whitman on Tuesday, Oct. 18, and will finish the regular season by hosting 7-1-1 on Thursday, Oct. 20.
Coach Kinnetz said the girls have adopted a one game at a time mentality. “We didn’t get hung up on things out of our control such as playing back to back nights. We focused on what we could control such as training and preparing at our bests. Furthermore, throughout the season in an attempt to continue our progression we adopted the motto, ‘Do it again, do it better, do it with class.’ This motto has kept us from becoming complacent and resting on past accomplishments.”
The Lady Jags tore through their 4A/3A West competition. The Jags allowed their seven division opponents to score just three goals, with no team scoring more than once in a game. Kinnetz credited his centerback tandem of sophomore Cailynn Adelman and senior caption Emmy Abdullah. “They hold down the fort while Kaitlyn Dold's goal keeping has been solid,” said Kinnetz.
With the division title under their belts, the Lady Jags who have made it to the regional title game for two years in a row, are looking to finish strong and take their “Do it again, do it better, do it with class” motto deep into the post season.
Top: Senior captain Samantha Sekscienski (9) has been a big part of the Lady Jags success this year. She has notched seven goals and leads the team with eight assists this season.
Next: Junior Heather Markiewicz (10) also has seven goals for the Lady Jags this season.
Next: Senior defender Emmy Abdullah (11) has been a holding down the fort for the Lady Jags, who have only allowed eight goals all season, and just three to 4A/3A Divisional opponents.
File Photos by Germantown Pulse.
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