Longtime Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School girls soccer coach Rob Kurtz admittedly pushes his player hard on a daily basis. He said he expects a lot from his talented four-time defending state champion squad.
But Kurtz said he was “meaner” than usual during Thursday and Friday’s training sessions.
“As we saw the storm starting to come up, I told the girls last Thursday and Friday that this could be it. We went really hard those days,” Kurtz said. “I definitely push my team to the limit and we ran and worked a lot. I told them, I was like, ‘I might not see you Monday, I might not see you Tuesday, but whenever I see you again, we’ve got to take care of business.”
With school cancelled on Monday and Tuesday, teams were not allowed to practice and Tuesday’s region quarterfinals were pushed to at least today.
Teams that continue to advance could end up playing three rigorous playoff games within a six-day span, putting even more emphasis on the role teams’ depth plays in their success.
Contingency plans are still being discussed, but with poor field conditions likely in the near future, many games have been moved to neutral sites with artificial turf fields.
Rescheduling can be chaotic as games need to be fit within a certain schedule to stay on track for the state tournament, but more than anything, Kurtz said, postseason is about will. Teams’ mental strength are sure to be tested over the next week.
“At the end of the year, regardless of how people are feeling, they can will themselves into playing hard. It’s really sad when it’s over, it’s a difficult time. You don’t want to let that happen to your seniors,” he said.
The Class 4A West Region’s No. 1 seed, B-CC, is scheduled to host Clarksburg, a 1-0 winner over John F. Kennedy, at 7 p.m. today at Montgomery Blair.
No. 2 Gaithersburg could take on No. 7 Thomas S. Wootton at 3 p.m. on the Trojans’ new turf stadium field.
The Patriots scraped by defending region semifinalist Montgomery Blair in Friday’s first round, 5-4 in penalty kicks, after missing three of their first four attempts.
Wootton’s goals were scored by Marina Callahan, Lindsay DeStefano, Janie Gelfond, Molly Alkon and Palina Ivanova.
“It really could have gone downhill [after we missed our first couple] but these girls just came through like they’ve done all season,” first-year Wootton coach Tracey Seek said. “We’ve won some big games. We’ve lost some games we should have won, but we’ve won some big games, too. I think it’s just working together as a team and having passion, it has to be about heart at this point.”
Gaithersburg won the team’s regular-season dual, 2-1.
After letting up a goal to Walter Johnson senior midfielder Carina Deandreis in the first 45 seconds of Friday’s first-round match, No. 4 Quince Orchard retaliated shortly after with two goals in a seven-minute span to clinch a 2-1 win.
The Cougars’ goals were scored by Lauren Holdsworth and Stephi Shin.
Quince Orchard will host Montgomery 4A West Division rival Northwest in the quarterfinals. The Cougars won the teams’ regular season match 2-0 in a torrential downpour.
Walt Whitman is scheduled to host three-time defending region finalist Winston Churchill in a highly anticipated quarterfinal match. The Bulldogs have knocked the Vikings out of the tournament the past three years.
Other county teams scheduled to be in action Tuesday were the Class 3A West Region’s second seed, Damascus. The Swarmin’ Hornets are scheduled to host North Hagerstown, a 2-0 first-round winner over Albert Einstein.
The winner of that match will take on the winner of No. 3 Thomas Johnson (Frederick County) and Watkins Mill. The Wolverines defeated Seneca Valley, 1-0, in the first round.
Damascus is seeking its third straight region final appearance.
Poolesville’s 3-1 win over Liberty set up a quarterfinal showdown with Class 2A West’s No. 3 Oakdale (Frederick County).
The match will feature two scrappy and defensive-minded sides.
Teams have two foes this week — opposing teams and the challenges brought on by a strong tropical storm.
In private school action, the Our Lady of Good Counsel and Academy of the Holy Cross finished in the top four of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference regular season standings and will contend for tournament titles this week.
With the play-in games now scheduled for Wednesday, teams will play quarterfinals Thursday, semifinals Friday and the championship will move from Saturday to Sunday at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
“I just always plan for the worst. If you plan for the worst, you’re prepared for everything,” Kurtz said.