All three goals notched by ninth-ranked W.T. Woodson in its non-district 3-1 win over eighth-ranked Robinson on Friday were scored by sophomores. The Cavaliers’ starting four defenders go like this: freshman, sophomore, sophomore and senior. Even W.T. Woodson’s second goal was assisted by a freshman.
A season removed from claiming the Virginia AAA Northern Region championship with a talented, senior-laden roster, this season’s Cavaliers are young — in fact, very young. This is what worried senior defender Anna Brauch to start the season; that they’d be “a little scattered,” as she put it.
But as they showed against visiting Robinson (7-3-1) in the first game of a girls-boys soccer doubleheader in Fairfax, W.T. Woodson’s youth has been an asset. The team’s group of 12 freshmen and sophomore are quick, fresh and eager. They have made up for the loss of seven seniors to graduation and the absence of last season’s leading scorer, Elizabeth Gaski, who has yet to play this spring with a foot injury.
“The advantage of having such a younger team is they do exactly what you tell them to,” Brauch said. “You give them a role and they will do it 100 percent every time. I’m not going to say they are like robots but they’re really good at learning something new, and with every game we’re getting better and better.”
The Cavaliers (6-0-3) scored first in the fourth minute on a 35-yard chip shot by sophomore forward Teresa Fruchterman, one of the underclassmen who has played a crucial role. Later in the half, sophomore midfielder Stephanie Wilson scored her first goal of the season, one set up by freshman Kaitlyn McCurdy. In the 69th minute, it was yet another of the Cavaliers’ youth that scored, a dazzling 25-yard free kick by sophomore Lauren Higgs.
W.T. Woodson’s defense held firm in the second half against Robinson, which was playing its second game against a ranked opponent in as many nights. Senior Brigitte Kuter scored the Rams’ goal.
“It’s definitely a lot of pressure because we lost seven seniors, all to D-I colleges,” Fruchterman said. “But together we’ve stayed strong.”
In the boys’ nightcap, seventh-ranked Robinson and W.T. Woodson ended in a 2-2 draw. The Rams (7-2-2) took a 2-0 first-half lead on goals by senior Ryan Harmouche and junior Baris Safoglu.
But the Cavaliers (5-2-2) trimmed the deficit with a goal by junior Michael Cherry in the 52th minute. And with one minute left in regulation, junior Chris Fanet drew a foul which set up a penalty kick and goal by junior Scotty Patterson.