What began as a rough week for the Centennial boys soccer team ended with a satisfying 4-0 victory yesterday over Wilde Lake.
The Eagles (4-1-1) had three starters suspended for the season for disciplinary reasons on Monday.
On Tuesday they suffered their first defeat since the 1990 season, losing, 2-1, to Walt Whitman in double overtime.
Because of those setbacks, coach Bill Stara was a bit concerned about how his young team might respond yesterday against Wilde Lake (2-2), a team that Thursday had beaten Gonzaga, which was ranked No. 12 in the Washington area by The Washington Post.
Against the Wildecats, the Eagles erased any slim doubts Stara may have had about the character of this Centennial team.
They thoroughly outplayed Wilde Lake and proved once again that on Centennial's narrow field the most dangerous offense remains the corner kick and long throw-in.
Wilde Lake attempted to play its normal short passing style and succeeded in moving the ball downfield repeatedly. The
Wildecats outshot Centennial, 16-14.
But most of Wilde Lake's shots were not dangerous and were either off the mark or easily handled by Centennial goalkeeper Dan Christine.
Centennial did produce a bunch of dangerous situations off of dead balls, and three straight dead-ball situations finally pressured the Wildecats into a mistake that led to the first Eagles goal.
Morgan Kershner scored the goal on a penalty kick in the 19th minute after Wilde Lake's Gavin Philipp was called for a hand-ball violation in the penalty box. The call deflated Wilde Lake.
"I was surprised they called it," Kershner said. "It didn't seem to be intentional."
L It was his fourth goal this season, first on a penalty kick.
"Wilde Lake wasn't sharp, didn't play well and touch-touch passing doesn't work on this field," Kershner said.
Kershner missed an easy chance at the back post off a throw-in in the 29th minute. The net was open after Wildecats goalkeeper John Beakes failed to catch the throw-in.
Gian Paulo Einaudi just missed putting the Wildecats back into the game in the 32nd minute, when his 35-yard kick sailed just above the right corner of the goal.
Centennial then put the game away with a quick counter-attack. Matt Stephenson found Brian West down the right side, and West (seven goals, four assists) dribbled in close for a successful left-footer with 10 seconds remaining in the half.
"I thought West was offside, but the official didn't agree," Wildecats sweeper Jeff Curtis said. "We lacked intensity today. When we needed heart we just didn't have it."
Centennial added two more goals in the second half.