If Thomas S. Wootton High School senior Matt Hoy appeared faster than normal in Saturday’s boys soccer state semifinal match against Perry Hall, that’s just because he was in a hurry.
Hoy, the team’s leading scorer, had to drive to Durham, N.C., immediately after the final whistle to attend his brother Mike’s wedding. His mom already was at the rehearsal dinner in the Tar Heel State, which is why someone in the stands wondered aloud in the 72nd minute, “Does someone want to call Matt’s mom to tell her what her son just did?”
What Hoy did was sprint by Perry Hall’s backline, time his run perfectly with a beautiful through ball, settle it and chip it over the goalkeeper to give the Patriots a 3-1 lead and lock up the school’s first trip to the state championship game.
Scoring is nothing new for Hoy. He did so twice against Perry Hall and has recorded multiple goal games seven times this season to aid his total of 25. He’s also delivered nine assists as an indispensable contributor to the Patriots’ 16-1-1 record heading into Friday’s state title match against Severna Park at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Hoy’s combination of physicality, speed and finishing ability makes him one of the more powerful strikers in the county, if not the state. He frequently settles the ball with ease, no matter whether it’s lofted, chipped, skidded or crossed.
“That man is a vicious monster,” Wootton midfielder Spiros Tsakos said of Hoy. “I don’t know what he eats for breakfast. I wish I had some of that, too. We’re lucky we have him.”
While Hoy recorded two goals in the semifinal and maintained his role a consistent source of scoring for the Patriots, there was one major causality on Saturday: his faux hawk.
Hoy sported the edgy look throughout Wootton’s playoff run, but had to harness the hairdo in preparation for Mike’s wedding.
And though it likely won’t grow back in time for Thursday night’s match, it’s clear he doesn’t need any extra boost from his hairstyle to produce on the field. That much is evident from the fact that he’s scored in 14 of 18 matches this season, playing in one of the more competitive leagues in the state.
“I think that nothing really surprises me because we’ve just been watching him do it day in and day out, all season long,” Wootton coach Doug Schuessler said of Hoy. “And you’d like to say that he’s got another trick up his sleeve. And he probably does in terms of a way that he’ll score a goal. But it’s power, it’s speed, it’s dynamic movement. It’s really the whole package.
“It’s what makes it almost impossible for teams to shut him down. You try to shut him down physically, he uses dynamic movement to break free. If you try to put two players on him, he’ll just use flat-out speed.”
Hoy, also a top-quality lacrosse goalie, grew up playing goalkeeper on his youth soccer teams. It wasn’t until Hoy and Richard Montgomery goalkeeper Graham Kindermann ended up on the same club that Hoy switched to forward, like his brother.
“I played goalie in lacrosse and I played goalie [in soccer] up until seventh grade,” said Hoy, who plans to attend Towson next year. “[Our club coaches] were finally like, ‘We can’t have both of you playing goalie.’ so I thought I’d give forward a shot. Things have just clicked since then.”
Part of what makes Hoy so dangerous is the bevy of talented players that surround him on Wootton’s roster.
“He’s a great finisher. He’s creative and makes opportunities for himself and others,” Patriots goalkeeper Jeremy Yeager said. “But our midfield has been doing a great job of getting him the ball for those scoring opportunities.”
Across from Hoy up top is striker Jared Nozick, who has scored nine goals and assisted seven more. Down the center of the field, he’s complimented by Tsakos, who has played with Hoy since the two were in fifth grade, and center back Sam Summerlin. All have contributed to what already is the most successful season in school history.
And the Patriots have one more opportunity to further cement their legacy on Friday.
“We’re like kings at school,” Hoy said. “Everyone wants to talk to us. Our fans [the BBQ Club] have been awesome all year. We’ve got like a cult following and there was a lot of hype for our team this year. We knew if we could get the fans coming out to games that it would help motivate us. It’s awesome.”