The Montgomery County girls soccer season is about to enter its stretch run as the division title races heat up this week.
This fall will probably be the last time the county will see a division title race as competitive as this one.
Winston Churchill High School coach Haroot Hakopian said when coaches meet at the end of the season to discuss next year’s realignment, they will have to figure out a way to balance the divisions more equally.
Walt Whitman went undefeated to win the 4A South Division, the county’s most unpredictable division, last year before it exited the postseason early.
Fatigue, mostly mental, likely was a contributing factor, coach Greg Herbert said at the start of this season.
This upcoming week features pivotal games between postseason contenders Whitman, Churchill and Bethesda-Chevy Chase as well as traditional contenders Walter Johnson and Thomas S. Wootton.
All three boast extremely stingy defenses, so fans could expect a few overtime and double overtime contests. In 17 games, Churchill, B-CC and Whitman have surrendered a combined seven goals.
The division title likely will go to the winner of Monday’s game between Sherwood and defending champion Montgomery Blair.
Based on history, the Blazers are favored to win, but they’ve been a little shaky this fall and Sherwood already has recorded a signature win against perennial power Damascus.
Blair seems to have righted the ship after a shocking loss to Gaithersburg last month but Sherwood is on a four-game win streak and has outscored its opponents 25-3 in that time.
This is shaping up to be a nice looking race between two-time state champion Quince Orchard, undefeated Gaithersburg and Northwest, which is fresh off a close 1-0 loss to B-CC.
Quince Orchard, a region semifinalist last fall, lost a close overtime game to Churchill last month and is propelled by a stingy backline. Northwest, meanwhile, possesses a lot of speed and skill up top.
Gaithersburg has been the surprise of 2012, coming out of the woodwork to remain the only undefeated public school team in the county. The Trojans are young but should not be overlooked.
Poolesville, Damascus and surprise defending champion Rockville all are tied with two division wins each.
Thursday’s game between the Swarmin’ Hornets and Falcons will have title implications.
Poolesville continues to be a fast and scrappy team. But the addition freshman goalkeeper Kristen Darragh has proven invaluable.
The Falcons have surrendered just five goals in seven games.
Damascus’ physicality always is tough to contend with. Four-year starting striker Erin Gaughan already has scored nine goals in six games. Eight additional players have scored at least once.
How they rank
1. Good Counsel, 6-0-1
2. B-CC, 5-1
3. Holy Cross, 8-0
4. Whitman, 5-1
5. Churchill, 4-1
Churchill at Whitman, 5 p.m. Wednesday
Blair at Sherwood, 5 p.m. Monday