The Oakton boys varsity soccer team (10-3-1) wanted revenge against rival Herndon (13-1-1) after losing the No. 1 seed to the Hornets in overtime last week. Coach Todd Spitalny and his Cougars got their shot at a rematch on Westfield’s turf field Friday night. But this time the Concorde District title was on the line and Herndon had yet to be defeated all season.
In the end, records made no difference as Charlie Ahn and Patrick Moore punished the Hornets in the first half with three uncontested goals to avenge their loss and capture the district championship for the first time in 10 years for Oakton.
Ahead 2-0 with less than eight minutes left in the first half, Ahn sidestepped a Hornet fullback and knotted one inside the near post to put his Cougars ahead by three. Herndon would fight back to take 10 solid shots on goalkeeper Logan Cropper in the second half but the keeper was on fire, snatching up anything that came near him.
“The last couple years we haven’t even made it to the first round,” Ahn said. “And this year we beat an undefeated Herndon. It feels great.”
Oakton got on top of Herndon from the start as Kevin Shavalay, Ahmed Ismail and sophomore Christian Ollen worked the give-and-go and triangle passing to perfection, pushing the ball up field early and often. This strategy frustrated the Hornets as they committed several fouls in the first half. Moore capitalized on Herndon’s mistakes when he took a pass 20 yards out and drilled the ball just underneath the crossbar, through the Hornet keeper’s gloves with 24:20 left in the half, for what proved to be the winning goal.
“I saw the right side open up and a field clearance came to me,” Moore said. “I took a touch and hit it as hard as I could.”
But Oakton was not done as Ahn scored off a direct kick from 18 yards out with 16:39 left in the first and once again with 7:44 remaining. The Cougars showed rhythm, chemistry and poise throughout the entire match while Herndon looked lost and confused in the first 45 minutes of play. Yet, Patrick McLaughlin and EK Korvah hustled hard in the second and gave all they had left in the tank, but their shots would never find the net and Oakton finally got its district banner after a decade.
Cropper said the win was huge for the school and he was in the zone during the game.
“It’s great for the program and is such an inspiration for us,” Cropper said. “It feels amazing and unreal right now.”
Cougar coach Todd Spitalny said he was extremely proud of his team, but the Hornets made him nervous in the second.
“The first half was great, but the second half was a little scary,” Spitalny said. “Two years ago we told [our players] this would happen tonight and it did. For two years all we did was look at an empty banner and this is what it was about tonight and they got it.”
Oakton plays at home against Falls Church High in the first round of the Northern Region tournament 7 p.m. May 25.
This article has corrected Oakton's record to 10-3-1 and first regional playoff opponent to Falls Church High.