For the past two seasons, the same frustrating occurrence has befallen Richard Montgomery High School’s girls’ soccer team when it matters most.
In the playoffs, the Rockets have bowed out against a team they beat earlier in the regular season.
In 2012, Monica Tarzy’s club defeated Winston Churchill before losing to them, 3-0, in the first round of Class 4A West Region tournament. In 2011, the same thing happened, only that time it was a 3-1 loss against Clarksburg.
This year, the Rockets are again off to a superb start — 4-0 in their first four matches — and Tarzy is hopeful her 2013 group will be the one to buck the trend.
“I went to RM as a student and it seems like every year we usually get the worst draw when it comes to playoffs,” Tarzy said. “Usually the draw we get, we beat the team in the season but can’t when it really matters. It’s partly because I think the girls in the past have started to get drained and lose energy and focus. I think this year could be different.”
Inspiring that sort of hope is a talented pair of captains. Tarzy was complimentary when speaking about both four-year varsity midfielder Jackie Page and three-year varsity midfielder Kayla Sukri. Tarzy said their leadership — everything from motivating their teammates, to organizing team events via Facebook and Twitter, to simply inspiring hard work every day at training — has made a world of difference.
“They’re really friendly and close with everyone on the team,” Tarzy said of her captains. “They’ve made it so that everyone feels like one unit as opposed to separate groups. Everyone is friends because of them. They’re the first ones out to practice, they hurry them along to get started and they always come mentally prepared.”
Among the other early standout performers on the roster, junior Rowan Glass is picking up right where she left off last season and has five goals in four matches — games during which RM has outscored its opponents, 14-4.
“We had the girls working hard on their own over the summer, which has made a huge difference in the attitude,” Tarzy said. “It’s really been a team effort so far this year.”
This was already pretty much a foregone conclusion before the year began, but boys’ soccer in Montgomery County is going to be wild. As the results pour in day after day, it consistently becomes apparent that nearly every team is capable of beating every other. It makes for a fantastic league for fans and many sleepless nights for coaches.
Through the season’s opening two weeks, only three clubs remain undefeated as of Sunday night: Gaithersburg, Northwest and Walter Johnson. Matches have (surprise) been tight, particularly in the 4A South Division where none of the six teams have scored or allowed more than 10 goals.
First-year Sherwood coach Michael Kogok, whose team is 2-2-0 yet at the bottom of the 4A North standings, has witnessed the parity first-hand.
“All the matches except for our [4-1] win against Seneca Valley have been tight contests,” Kogok said. “I’m encouraged. And I think the boys are starting to realize that we can play with anyone, but we can also lose to anyone.”
Three of the Warriors’ four matches thus far have been 1-0 results, with Sherwood losing to Northwest and Bethesda-Chevy Chase by that score. Kogok said he’s been particularly impressed with the early play of juniors Ethan Carey and Sheriff Secka.
“We’re not a team of superstars,” Kogok said. “It’s more a bunch of boys where I can go seven or eight deep and not worry about the pace changing. It’s a great group.”
How they rank
2. Good Counsel
3. Walter Johnson
5. Thomas S. Wootton
1. Our Lady of Good Counsel
2. Academy of the Holy Cross
3. Bethesda-Chevy Chase
4. Walt Whitman
5. Winston Churchill