Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Webster's 28 Sparks Landon Over Chantilly

Webster's 28 Sparks Landon Over Chantilly

By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, December 31, 2008; E03

Landon senior guard Christian Webster passed up his first three open looks at the basket in last night's 72-60 victory over No. 12 Chantilly in the championship game of the Pohanka Chantilly Classic tournament.

It was clear he was intent on getting his teammates involved. It was on this court last season when he learned a hard lesson in the value of sharing.
"I came out tonight and it didn't matter how many points I scored as long as we won," said Webster, a 6-foot-4 guard and a McDonald's all-American candidate, who finished with 28 points last night and 85 for the tournament en route to his second straight tournament most valuable player award. "It feels a heck of a lot better than last year."

In last season's 94-86 tournament final loss to the Chargers, Webster scored half of his team's points -- a 43-point coming-out party that gave him 83 for the three-day 2007 event.
"I asked him: 'How do you feel about that? Having a career-high and an amazing performance, but not getting the win," Bears Coach Andy Luther said. "He wants to have the recognition, but we have a pretty good understanding and he and I have talked a lot about how to make that happen, and that's by winning."

Webster, who was one of the area's leading scorers with 26.8 points per game in the Bears' 11-13 finish last season, has retained his scoring edge, producing 28.8 points per game, and last night he added 11 rebounds, six assists and strong defense. He held Chantilly's standout guard Justin May to seven points while displaying a command of the court that showed he's more than just a scorer.

"He's wanted to shoulder more in terms of being responsible in multiple ways of creating wins," Luther said.

Webster was passive for much of the first quarter, helping four other Landon players get in the scoring column. Sophomore center Darion Atkins finished with 11 points and helped defend Chantilly 6-11 center John Manning. Danny Rubin added 10 for the Bears (7-2).

Webster had 10 points at halftime to help Landon to a 34-32 lead, then 14 in the second half to hand Chantilly (9-1) its first loss.

Landon 72, Chantilly 60

Charging to the Final: Chantilly has appeared in 14 of the tournament's 16 title games, winning six.

Girls' Champion: In last night's girls' final, West Springfield's Sam Landers (15 points) shot 4 for 11 from the field, 6 for 6 from the free throw line, hit her only three-point attempt and added five rebounds and four assists to lift the Spartans (9-1) to a 60-47 victory over Mills Godwin.

Monday, December 29, 2008

FiOS1, Verizon's Local TV Channel to Broadcast Two George Mason University Games

FiOS1, Verizon's Local TV Channel, To Do Live Broadcasts of Two George Mason University Basketball Games

FAIRFAX, Va., Dec. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Verizon's FiOS1 local TV channel will broadcast live two George Mason University CAA (Colonial Athletic Association) conference basketball games in January and February from the university's Patriot Center here.

FiOS TV customers can see two exciting matchups -- on Jan. 5 when the Patriots take on Georgia State University at 5:07 p.m., and on Feb. 18 when the Patriots host Drexel University at 7:07 p.m.

"FiOS1 delivers content that demonstrates our commitment to local communities," said Michelle Webb, executive producer and general manager of FiOS1. "We're proud to bring our subscribers in the area live coverage of NCAA men's Division I college basketball as the Patriots battle it out on the court in two CAA conference matchups."

B.J. Koubaroulis will call both games along with Craig Esherick, a former Georgetown University head coach and assistant basketball coach and scout for the U.S. Men's Olympic basketball team at the Seoul Olympics in 1988.

The George Mason Patriots are led by head coach Jim Larranaga, the Patriots' and CAA's all-time leader in wins, in his 12th season with the school. Larranaga led the Patriots to the Final Four in March 2006.

FiOS1, Verizon's first local TV channel, offers a one-stop shop for local weather, traffic, news, sports and community features. FiOS1 is available on Channel 1 in the Verizon FiOS TV channel lineup in northern Virginia and parts of Maryland, and is available at no extra cost to Verizon FiOS TV subscribers.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Chantilly's Bench Comes Up Big

Chantilly's Bench Comes Up Big

With Star Center in Foul Trouble, Howerton Pitches In
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special To The Washington Post
Sunday, December 21, 2008; D12

Chantilly junior forward Matt Howerton wasn't quite sure how to react to the standing ovation he received as he strolled to the bench late in the fourth quarter of last night's 87-69 nondistrict victory over visiting Lee.

With his head down as he strolled off the court, he nearly missed the line of outstretched hands as each of his teammates reached out to tap, high-five or chest-bump the unheralded backup.

Howerton, a thick, 6-foot-3 scrapper who is learning to play the power forward position after being a junior varsity center last season, knows that the Chargers' bench usually reserves its standing ovations for much better known players like reigning Virginia AAA Concorde District player of the year Justin May -- a senior guard who is averaging 12.8 points per game -- and sophomore center John Manning.

"But both Justin and I both have good backups," said Manning (11 points), one of the area's most coveted recruits in the class of 2011. "People don't realize how deep we are. Most teams in this region don't go 13 deep."

Howerton proved Manning's point, scoring six of his 11 points in the third quarter as the wiry 6-11 starting center sat the bench in foul trouble.

Howerton was just one of six Chargers that scored in double-figures as No. 12 Chantilly (7-0, 2-0 Virginia AAA Concorde District) rolled to its seventh straight victory and handed Lee (3-2, 1-1 Patriot District) its third loss in four games.

"We have a lot of depth and anyone can come on at any time," Howerton said.

May's backup Kethan Savage, a sophomore guard, scored seven points in the first quarter, while three-point threat Adam Fridy chipped in seven of his 17 in the third as the Chargers extended their 10-point halftime lead to 17 by the end of the quarter.

The Chargers' depth is "very key because we don't get a lot of competition in the district except for Westfield and Herndon," said May (17 points), "so we have to go hard in practice and that's where we get better."

But the Chargers' depth also could be vital in helping them atone for last season's disappointing finish.

Chantilly won 21 of its first 23 games last season before posting back-to-back losses in its conference tournament final to rival Westfield and a season-ender to Annandale in the first round of the Virginia AAA Northern Region tournament.

"It's in the back of our minds," May said.

No. 12 Chantilly 87, Lee 69

Same Face, New Place: Senior 6-5 forward Frank Holloway Jr. led Lee in scoring with 16 points. Holloway Jr., who played for T.C. Williams as a freshman and led West Potomac in scoring last season with 15.8 points per game before suffering a season-ending injury, is playing for his third high school team.
Concorde Giants: Chantilly has beaten its first two district opponents by 20 points apiece.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Mustangs' Balance Too Much For Paul VI

Mustangs' Balance Too Much For Paul VI
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, December 20, 2008; E07

It took a moment for Bishop McNamara senior Talib Zanna to realize he had been injured on his first shot attempt -- a pump fake that drew his defender's chin deep into the muscle on his right forearm, near his elbow.

It wasn't until midway through the following free throw -- an air ball that sent the rowdy crowd at Paul VI Catholic last night into a screaming frenzy -- that he realized he could barely move his arm.He turned, pointed to the limp arm and went to the bench for much of the first and second quarter of the third-ranked Mustangs' 55-50 win at No. 13 Paul VI. Coaches and trainers attended to him, and at one point an assistant coach gripped the back of the player's head as Zanna buried his face in his chest.

"I was scared," said Zanna, a 6-foot-9 Pittsburgh-bound forward who entered last night's key Washington Catholic Athletic Conference matchup leading the Mustangs with 16.5 points per game.

But even without Zanna for most of the first half, McNamara (5-0, 2-0) found its swagger, relying on nine different scorers in the win."Everybody stepped up," said George Mason-bound senior guard Rashad Whack, one of the area's top three-point threats, who led the Mustangs with 13 points last night. "Even though we didn't have a big man, we were able to defend the post and box out and play good defense."

With Zanna on the bench, McNamara relied on 6-7 junior forward Brandon Coleman to police the inside against a strong Panthers post presence in Raven Barber (Mount Saint Mary's) and Eugene McCrory -- a duo that Coleman helped hold to a combined 14 points. In the meantime, McNamara's speedy guards held Virginia Tech-bound point guard and All-Met Erick Green (11 points) in check.

"I don't back down when I get called into the game, I take it as an opportunity," said Coleman, who finished with seven points, six rebounds and one block.

Zanna returned late in the second quarter and came alive in the second half to score six of his eight points. He owned the inside with three blocks, two altered shots and five rebounds to help the Mustangs close out a tight second half, during which Paul VI (7-1, 2-1) cut the lead to two on four separate occasions but couldn't close the gap.

Paul VI entered last night's game averaging 65.8 points per game.

"Our goal is to keep teams under 55 points this year," Mustangs Coach Marty Keithline said.

No. 3 McNamara 55, No. 13 Paul VI 50
Running the Gantlet: In facing No. 17 Flint Hill (5-1) today, Paul VI will continue a four-week stretch during which it will face some of the area's best, including No. 1 DeMatha, No. 5 Gonzaga, No. 8 Riverdale Baptist, No. 11 Good Counsel and No. 6 O'Connell. Help at the Line: Paul VI shot 16 for 21 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Foul Trouble Doesn't Slow Down Eagles

Foul Trouble Doesn't Slow Down Eagles
Host Claims Gonzaga D.C. Classic Title
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Monday, December 15, 2008; E06

Gonzaga senior center Patrick Wolf hung his head as he pulled his white, sopping wet jersey over the bridge of his nose. His chest heaved as he tried to wipe the seemingly unstoppable stream of sweat that poured over his red-blazoned cheeks. Each step toward the locker room for his halftime rest looked painful.

A rugby player who is built more like an offensive lineman, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound redhead was trying to catch his breath after playing an uncharacteristically high number of first-half minutes in last night's 62-42 victory over St. John's (D.C.) in the Gonzaga D.C. Classic Tournament championship game at Bender Arena.

"I'm just not used to that many minutes, consecutively, but I'll take minutes when I can get them," said Wolf, who found himself in the thick of things midway through the second quarter as guard Tyler Thornton and starter Malcolm Lemmons were sent to the bench with two fouls apiece and the game tied at 17.

"This season is going to be defined by which guys step up," said Wolf, one of several role players who helped the No. 5 Eagles clinch their eighth title in the event.

As St. John's (3-2) looked to turn the Eagles' seventh turnover into a one-on-one, tiebreaking bucket, Wolf got back down court, slid his feet into position, crossed his arms over his chest and absorbed a game-swinging charge that brought the Eagles' bench to its feet and sparked a 9-6 quarter-closing run that put Gonzaga (5-1) up 26-23 at halftime.

Wolf was just one of several role players who helped the Eagles survive a strong St. John's push while Thornton (16 points) and Lemmons (10 points) were on the bench. Andrew Sterritt, Cahli Thomas and William Saffron played quality minutes and helped to alleviate defensive pressure on Princeton-bound forward Ian Hummer (13 points) and Cedric Lindsay -- a speedy guard who scored nine of Gonzaga's 15 second-quarter points and finished with a game-high 17.

"This is a game that we needed so that we can see who was going to step up when things got hectic," said Thornton, who returned in the third and scored 15 of his 16 to fuel a game-clinching 36-19 second half run. "We try not to compare ourselves to last year, but we can have the same success. We just have to approach it in a different way."

Last season, the Purple Eagles went 34-1 in winning the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference regular season, WCAC tournament championship, D.C. City Title game and the prestigious Alhambra Catholic Invitational tournament. Gonzaga closed the season on a dominant 17-game winning streak en route to The Post's No. 1 ranking as well as a number of top-five national rankings.

Wolf, Thomas and Sterritt are "all guys that battled on a team last year that won it all, and now it's their turn," Gonzaga Coach Steve Turner said.

In a third-place consolation meeting between two area teams, No. 14 Coolidge (5-2) rolled past Bullis (2-4), 68-43, on the strength of Florida Atlantic-bound senior forward Andre Mattison's 10 points, 10 blocks and 7 rebounds.

"He's going to be the focal point of our interior this year," Coach Vaughn Jones said.

South Lakes Shows That It's Still Strong

South Lakes Shows That It's Still Strong
By B.J. Koubaroulis

Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, December 17, 2008; E06

Caught in the doorway between the locker room and his office, South Lakes Coach Darryl Branch placed his open palm on senior guard Travis Williams's chest -- a near stiff-arm that jolted the 5-foot-10 senior guard.

"Act civilized," Branch told Williams and a rowdy stampede of his teammates last night as they charged a box of hot dogs -- their postgame reward for a 50-39 victory over visiting Virginia AAA Liberty District foe Madison.

Williams, who scored a team-high 19 points on a variety of pull-up jumpers, three-pointers and slashing drives to the basket, was perfectly composed going into last night's district opener. He and his teammates showed focus, and once again South Lakes (3-1, 1-0) appears to be a force in the Northern Region.

"Every team is special, but this team is special to me," said Branch, who has spent 15 years at his alma mater, most recently replacing his former coach and mentor Wendell Byrd two seasons ago.

Although Williams is the Seahawks' only returning starter, almost every other Seahawk was on Branch's junior varsity team two years ago -- a 15-1 squad that he believes might have the same success at the varsity level.

"It's a gradual progression," Branch said. "Why not?"

While Williams entered last night as the district's leading scorer, averaging 21.3 points per game, players such as 6-foot-5 senior forward Jamal Hulum and speedy senior three-point threat Steve Kerr were less heralded. Senior forward Brandon Price might have best been known because of his brother A.J. Price -- a football, basketball and track star who is a wide receiver at Penn State.

However, Price, Hulum and Kerr combined for 12 points and drew pressure away from Williams, who scored four, during a 16-4 third-quarter run that helped South Lakes recover from a 21-19 halftime deficit.

Madison fell to 3-3, 0-1.

"A lot of people don't know these guys," said Williams, who scored 34 points in a season-opening 73-46 victory over Heritage. "Don't look for them to come soft. We are the underdogs this year, and we are going to prove to everybody that we are in the top of the district this year."

Price scored seven last night but had 15 in a 73-68 victory over rival Herndon last week and is a "real matchup problem," Branch said.

Hulum, who had nine points, six rebounds and four blocks, prefers to "fly under the radar," he said. "I like surprising people."

South Lakes 50 Madison 39 Will Power: Madison's Will Clarkson, a quarterback who threw for more than 700 yards and led the Warhawks to the Division 5 football playoffs this fall, had 16 points last night and is averaging a team-high 17.6 points per game. Ogolo Mending: In his second game back after recovering from surgery this fall, Madison guard Omi Ogolo scored six points.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ruffin-Pratt Hits 2,000-Point Mark

Ruffin-Pratt Hits 2,000-Point Mark
T.C. Williams Star Scores 34 to Lead Titans Past Edison
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, December 13, 2008; E07

T.C. Williams senior Tierra Ruffin-Pratt kept her wrist cocked high in the air after each of her three three-pointers fell through the net. She shook her head with a confident smile as she trotted down the floor after making a pull-up jumper, taking time to slap hands, pat backs and even play a few tricks on teammates and coaches near the bench during the Titans' 62-49 victory last night over visiting Edison.

More than the obvious talent, it was the 6-foot North Carolina-bound All-Met Player of the Year's attitude that spoke volumes about her health and the Titans' chances this season.

"The last two games my shot wasn't really falling and I wasn't scoring as much as I wanted to be, but my shot was going in tonight and I was happy," said Ruffin-Pratt, who scored 34 points and eclipsed the 2,000-point mark for her high school career.

Ruffin-Pratt scored 11 points and spearheaded a tenacious defense that forced Edison into 12 of its 24 turnovers during a furious 18-4 first-quarter run.

The victory pulled the Titans (1-2) out of a season-opening slump and served notice that the Alexandria school is once again a threat for a region title. The win against Edison (2-1), a team that has won two of the last three region titles and made two state final appearances since 2003, was a statement.

"This is a sign of how good we can be," said Ruffin-Pratt, whose Titans won 22 straight games last season before she separated her left shoulder and was sidelined as the team suffered a season-ending region playoff loss.

Ruffin-Pratt, who reinjured the shoulder during the under-17 USA Basketball national team tryouts in May, is wearing a shoulder brace to "keep it from slipping out again," she said.

"It's a lot of pressure off me now because all the college stuff is over, and now I can worry about being out on the court and just having fun my last year," said Ruffin-Pratt, who last month committed to North Carolina, ending a long recruitment that began when she was in middle school.

"This is the first time this year she's felt like that," said Cavanaugh Hagen, the Titans' third coach in four years. "Tonight was the first time seeing her go for a pull-up jumper with a hand in her face and knocking it down like she can."

Titans Boys Win

In the second game of the night's doubleheader, T.C. Williams's Edward Jenkins (19 points) and Ryan Yates (16 points) were two of nine Titans who scored in a 68-59 win over visiting Edison (1-4). The victory indicated that despite losing four college signees and All-Met Coach of the Year Ivan Thomas from last year's 29-3 state championship squad, the No. 16 Titans (2-0) are still a force.

"Our talent pool in Alexandria is deep, so we're going to be very good for a very long time," Yates said.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Eric Green Video

Eric Green Video

Check out this video I produced for Washingtonpost.com, where bright young talented journalist Matthew Stanmyre gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at his feature about Virginia Tech-bound point guard Eric Green, a senior who transferred from Millbrook to Paul VI in order to prepare himself for college basketball.

Video by B.J. Koubaroulis

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Colonial Beach Video

Behind the Scenes at Colonial Beach

The Post's B.J. Koubaroulis takes you behind the scenes at Colonial Beach, a 24-player football program that has become a rallying point for a small rural community of less than 3,300 located off the banks of the Potomac near Fredericksburg.

Video by B.J. Koubaroulis

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

In Fairfax, Two Sports In Jeopardy

In Fairfax, Two Sports In Jeopardy
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Thursday, November 20, 2008; E01

Fairfax County high school gymnastics and indoor track could be eliminated when the 2010 budget is adopted in May as the school district copes with a $170 million shortfall. School officials say the measure would affect about 2,600 athletes and save the county an estimated $471,000.

Schools Superintendent Jack D. Dale unveiled three budget proposals at a Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting last week. Each proposal called for gymnastics to be cut; indoor track would be nixed in the most severe proposal, which also included cuts of $219 million and the elimination of 1,500 county schools positions.

"There are going to be cuts," said Fairfax County Director of Student Activities Bill Curran, noting most of the cuts are not related to athletics. "We're looking at taking the impacts that we can survive and maintaining as many of our programs as we can."

Such a move, made in a county that has been ranked among the nation's wealthiest and with 24 of its 25 schools appearing on Newsweek's 2008 list of America's Top Public High Schools, is a consequence of the nation's economic crisis. Fairfax, a county with a median household income of more than $100,000, has experienced a steep decline in housing prices and anticipated property tax revenue, according to Curran.

"It simply isn't realistic to think we can operate with vast budget cuts and not talk about the athletics. It's all got to go together," Curran said.

Fairfax, however, appears to be the only county in the Washington area willing to cut sports. School athletic officials in Arlington, Loudoun, Prince William, Spotsylvania, Montgomery, Prince George's, Howard, Anne Arundel, Charles, St. Mary's and Calvert counties, and Alexandria and the District say they do not plan to eliminate any high school sports.

All of those jurisdictions except Loudoun offer indoor track; in Maryland, only Montgomery and Anne Arundel offer gymnastics.

Curran said Fairfax targeted gymnastics and indoor track for cuts because there were other avenues for those athletes to compete. "Gymnastics has it at the private level [club gymnastics], and track really had it in the spring," Curran said. "There are still some opportunities to run in the spring and for distance runners to do cross-country in the fall." According to the FCPS schools' budget cut proposal, cutting track would shave $250,000.

"I don't know why track would be targeted. Think about it -- it's so simple. For a poor kid, all you need is a pair of shoes and a good coach," said Herndon's Peter Sherry, who coaches the school's indoor, outdoor and cross-country teams.

Gymnastics cuts would affect approximately 125 female athletes and save the county an additional $221,000 through the elimination of 25 head coaching supplements, 25 assistant coach supplements, officials fees and transportation. In Fairfax County, a head gymnastics coach is paid a $4,000 stipend.

"We've seen a steady decline in participation over the past seven or eight years," Curran said of gymnastics. "It's been on the table for the past few years."

Curran said that 14 of 25 Fairfax schools fielded gymnastics teams last winter. In 2002, Fairfax County had 21 active teams and had more than 200 girls participating.

"Because [gymnastics] is not in every school, not everyone supports it," said W.T. Woodson Coach Mike Cooper, whose teams have won more than two dozen local and state boys' and girls' titles in his 25-year career. "Because some schools don't have a team, it's easy to say, 'Yes, let's cut it.' The schools that have it and support the program see that it's beneficial."

About 2,500 students participate in indoor track, which has long served as a catch-all sport for athletes looking for a way to train during the offseason.

"All of the sudden you are sending 2,500 kids out into traffic, out into the streets with nothing to do," Sherry said.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hobbled RB Clinton Portis unable to get Washington Redskins moving

Hobbled RB Clinton Portis unable to get Washington Redskins moving
Special to the Star-Telegram

LANDOVER, Md. — Nearly three hours before kickoff, Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis was standing at the 20-yard line, sandwiched between two team trainers while head coach Jim Zorn, defensive coordinator Greg Blache and two other members of the coaching staff watched from the sideline.

Portis took his cues from the trainers, running routes and performing a number of other exercises in what appeared to be the equivalent of a tryout, all to prove that his sprained left knee, which kept him off the practice field during much of the bye week, was strong enough to carry Washington toward the top half of the NFC East and drop Dallas deeper into its basement.

But even with an active Portis (15 carries, 68 yards) on Sunday night, Washington managed just 228 yards of offense and could not overcome Portis’ counterpart, Cowboys running back Marion Barber, who finished with 114 yards rushing and a touchdown and was Dallas’ leading receiver with six receptions for 39 yards.

"I was surprised that [Portis] played because of the knee injury that he had, and if you looked at him on Friday, you would have thought no way," Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell said.
Portis’ first carry — a 5-yard burst — pushed him over the 1,000-yard mark in 10 games, the quickest he’s reached the milestone in his seven-year career.

But he also became the sixth premier back whom Dallas has held under 100 yards this season.
Portis rushed for 121 yards on 21 carries during the Redskins’ 26-24 victory over Dallas on Sept. 28, a result that left both teams at 3-1.

"Even with all the pain that he was going through, he still tried to give it his all," Campbell said of Portis.

With backup Ladell Betts (knee) listed as probable and Shaun Alexander and Rock Cartwright having combined for 14 carries and 36 yards in the previous nine weeks, Portis — the NFL’s second-leading rusher entering Sunday with 995 yards and seven touchdowns — "was out there fighting with his teammates," Campbell said.

"We’ve just got to score points," Cartwright said. "If we score points, we’ll win football games."
Portis was solid on the Redskins’ first drive — a 10-play, 49-yard in which he rushed five times for 29 yards, accounted for two first downs and broke a 9-yard run on fourth-and-1 from the 11-yard line to set up Campbell’s 2-yard play-action touchdown pass to Mike Sellers.

But Portis found little running room the rest of the game, which was bad news for Washington against its bitter division rival.

The Redskins have won five of their past eight games against the Cowboys, and in their three losses Portis either did not play or was held well under 100 yards.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Damien Thigpen, Stonewall Jackson, RB

Damien Thigpen, Stonewall Jackson, RB

Jason Ankrah, Quince Orchard, DE

Jason Ankrah, Quince Orchard DE

This week's Recruiting Spotlight is on Quince Orchard defensive end Jason Ankrah. Despite having only played three years, the 6-4, 245-pound rising senior holds plenty of scholarship offers, with Maryland among those schools on his list.

Jack Tyler, Oakton LB

Jack Tyler, Oakton LB

This week's Recruiting Spotlight features Oakton's Jack Tyler, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound linebacker who enters his senior season with 193 career tackles and three interceptions.
Following his junior year, when he recorded 113 tackles at inside linebacker and spent time at fullback, Tyler is expected to draw heavy recruiting interest this fall, already holding a preferred walk-on status at Virginia Tech and interest from other ACC and A-10 programs.
"He's always wanted to go to Tech, but I don't think he's closing the door on other programs," Oakton Coach Joe Thompson said.
Tyler is also a ranked swimmer in the Northern Virginia Swimming League and a starting defender for Oakton's varsity lacrosse team.

Ross Metheny, Sherando QB

Ross Metheny, Sherando QB

Luke Bowanko, Centreville OT

Luke Bowanko, Centreville OT

This week's Recruiting Spotlight features Centreville's Luke Bowanko, a 6-foot-6, 270-pound offensive tackle. Bowanko, who entered his freshman year of high school weighing 185 pounds, has worked his way into a football scholarship to Virginia. Following what he called a "bad junior season," during which he was limited by a high ankle sprain, Bowanko returns as a team captain motivated to lift Centreville in the ultra-competitive Virginia AAA Concorde District.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Isaiah Ross

Isaiah Ross, Eleanor Roosevelt

This week's Recruiting Spotlight features Eleanor Roosevelt's Isaiah Ross -- a 6-foot-2, 230-pound linebacker and defensive lineman. Ross's 111 tackles, 13 sacks, eight forced fumbles and two defensive touchdowns helped the Raiders to a 5-5 finish and earned him offers from Maryland, Illinois and Buffalo. Named the team's Most Valuable Player in 2007, the 17-year-old enters his senior season with a diverse crop of talents, having also spent time as a tight end, wide receiver and punter.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Arnett to be a Terp?

From Josh Barr's Blog at Washingtonpost.com

Forestville's Arnett Set to Decide

Insider special/super correspondent B.J. Koubaroulis passes along this report:

According to Coach Charles Harley, Forestville junior DeOnte Arnett -- a 6-foot-4, 250-pound defensive end -- is expected to make a verbal commitment on Wednesday.

Rated as high as 11th among the nation's top defensive ends, Arnett has a tremendous wing-span, which helped him to 72 tackles and 15 sacks last fall as well as 18 official offers. He's narrowed that list to five -- Ohio State, Georgia, Maryland, Tennessee and Cincinnati. B.J. will have more on Arnett next week as he sits down for a question and answer session in the Recruiting Spotlight.

The guess here is that Arnett gives the local team quite a boost and pledges for the Terps.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Michael Campanaro Video

Recruiting Spotlight: Michael Campanaro

In this week's Recruiting Spotlight reporter B.J. Koubaroulis sits down with All-Met Michael Campanaro -- River Hill's record-setting running back and defensive back. Campanaro, a 5-foot-10, 185-pound versatile threat, committed to Wake Forest in April over offers from Northwestern, Akron and North Carolina. Campanaro has used his 4.38 40-yard speed to rush for more than 1,000 yards and record more than 50 tackles in each of his first two varsity seasons. He owns school records in career yards (3,955) and touchdowns (50) and a single-game rushing output of 253 yards. This fall he amassed 2,310 total yards and 30 touchdowns leading 14-0 River Hill to the Maryland 2A state championship on a stunning 8.9 yards per carry average.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008

De'Antwan Williams

DeAntwan Williams, Woodbridge, Jr.

De'Antwan Williams, a 5-foot-8, 200-pound running back at Woodbridge High, is nicknamed "Rocket." He rushed for 2,048 yards and 26 touchdowns as a junior last fall, his third consecutive 1,000-yard season. He has scholarship offers from Maryland, Virginia, Rutgers, Boston College, West Virginia, Liberty and his current favorite, Alabama.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Five-Star Performance Puts Robinson Back on Top

Five-Star Performance Puts Robinson Back on Top
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, June 8, 2008; D10

Click Here to Read the Boy's Story

After scoring the game-winner on a 25-yard, free-kick lob shot in Friday's Virginia AAA girls' soccer semifinal, Robinson junior midfielder Annie Hovland dragged her finger across her sweat-soaked yellow jersey.

She pointed to a line of four stars underneath her shoulder, each representing one of the Rams' four state titles.

Hovland was one of six Rams who played more than 85 minutes yesterday in a 2-1, double-overtime championship game victory over Battlefield. They withstood scorching heat at Westfield High and Battlefield's high-speed approach to give No. 1 Robinson (21-1) its 17th straight victory and first state title since 2002.

"It feels good to know we put that star there," said Robinson junior forward LeighAnne Baxter, who finished an 88th-minute low-roller to the right side, ending a taut defensive affair in which Robinson struggled to score as its best finisher -- sophomore forward Audrey Barry (18 goals, 10 assists) -- played limited minutes after injuring her right leg in Friday's 2-1 victory over Woodbridge.

"After regulation, we all wanted it so bad," said Hovland, who solidified the midfield, frustrating Battlefield's high-octane offense into a mere four shots on goal.The Rams' back line -- sophomore Cole Miller, sophomore All-Met Ali Heck and junior Monika Criman -- played all 90 minutes, stymieing Bobcats forwards Sahar Aflaki and Jessica Jewell, who entered the game having combined for 58 of Battlefield's 96 goals this spring.

The No. 10 Bobcats (22-3) scored first when Jewell took Alyson Shaughnessy's midfield lob pass and fought through two defenders before sending a right-footed 10-yard finish to the back left corner of the goal in the 65th minute.

"We knew were going to have our hands full with those two great players up top," Heck said.

Less than 30 seconds after Jewell's finish, Robinson's Stephanie Johnson streaked untouched up the right sideline and touched in Baxter's cross off the right post, an equalizer that trickled into the front right corner.

The Rams outscored their opponents 62-14 this season, earned 10 shutouts and averaged 2.8 goals per game.The championship game marked the 24th time in 25 seasons of the tournament's existence that a team from Northern Virginia captured the state title.

Robinson's title victory also tied the Rams with Lake Braddock and West Springfield for the most state titles in the tournament's history.

"It's awesome because we have a lot of young talent," said Heck, one of nine starters expected to return next season. "We can probably do it again next year."

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Bobcats, Rams Make It Another All-Local Affair

Bobcats, Rams Make It Another All-Local Affair
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, June 7, 2008; E06

Battlefield girls' soccer coach Kevin Hilton could only watch, cross his arms and kick his feet in the dirt yesterday, feeling unprepared as he watched Cox's coaches set up a tent over their sideline bench to shield their players from the intense sun and heat during their Virginia AAA semifinal at Westfield High.

An Eastern Region girls' soccer power that has made it to the past two state finals, Cox knew what to expect this time of year.

No. 10 Battlefield, a fourth-year team from Haymarket, was shielded from the scalding sun only because Lake Braddock Athletic Director Mark Martino lent the Bobcats his team's tent -- a purple overhang with the words "Lake Braddock" painted in bright yellow lettering on all four sides.

And though Battlefield doesn't have the same storied state tournament history as Lake Braddock -- a five-time state champion and winner of the past two state titles -- the Bobcats did what Lake Braddock has done in each of the last two seasons: end Cox's season.

Yesterday's 2-1 victory over Cox gave the Bobcats their first state final appearance -- a 1 p.m. meeting today with No. 1 Robinson (20-1) at Westfield -- where they hope to put the relatively unknown program on the state soccer map.

"Nobody knows about Battlefield, but we just proved right now that we are ready to play with the best programs," said Bobcats sophomore Sahar Aflaki, who charged past a Cox defender in the 69th minute, stole possession inside the penalty box and finished off the game-winner with a right-footed low roller to the far post from an angle that forced her to "do the impossible," she said.

Robinson improved its winning streak to 15, downing No. 8 Woodbridge, 3-2, in yesterday's other semifinal. Annie Hovland's 25-yard, free-kick lob shot set up today's all-Northern Virginia final.

The championship game will mark the 24th time in 25 seasons of the tournament's existence that a team from Northern Virginia will capture the state title. Since 1984, Northern Virginia has stockpiled state titles, with traditional powers West Springfield (five), Lake Braddock (five), W.T. Woodson (four), Robinson (four), Lee (two) and Woodbridge (two) combining for 22 of the previous 24 championships. Kellam of Virginia Beach, which won the championship in 2005, is the only non-Northern Virginia team that has won an AAA state title.

Robinson last won the state title in 2002.

The Rams ended Woodbridge's 19-game winning streak by getting goals from Hovland (her eighth of the season), Kristen Smith (11 goals, 10 assists this season) and Jensen Smith (six goals).

Woodbridge, which got goals from Kristen Lybert (30 goals) and Casey Burdette (seven goals), ended its season at 20-2.

The Bobcats outshot Cox, 15-14, with eight of their shots on goal. Cox (20-4), which had allowed 10 goals and had 15 shutouts this spring, gave up its most goals since a 3-2 loss to Robinson on March 14.

Battlefield was "the underdog today against Cox," Hovland said. "I think they are going to be fired up."

Friday, June 06, 2008

Rugby Continues to Translate in Area

Rugby Continues to Translate in Area
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Friday, June 6, 2008; E11

Read About the Championship

Gareth Willatt reels in the lateral, slides his hands around the curved edges of the oblong rugby ball, tucks it under his arm and sets about precisely navigating the turf field at Old Redskins Park.

As he negotiates the gaps between a group of his teammates, Willatt weaves and dives, absorbing shouts from his NOVA under-19 coaches. He's constantly processing the team's plays: "Cougar," "Cobra Sprint," "Viper," often calling variations -- or audibles -- to other setups such as "New Zealand" and "Australia."

Willatt's NOVA U-19 club team -- made up of players from 10 Virginia high schools and two middle schools -- is practicing for tomorrow's 3:30 p.m. state championship matchup with Western Suburbs, a Loudoun-based team. The state championship, Virginia's first unofficial title game, will end the first season of Rugby Virginia, an eight-team league formed from Potomac Rugby Union's summer youth leagues with teams in Loudoun, Springfield, Alexandria, McLean and Winchester.

The move toward a state-based model follows the blueprint set by lacrosse, which spent nearly two decades as a Virginia club sport before earning official Virginia High School League recognition in 2006."I was in high school when they had the first rumblings of a lacrosse team at Chantilly, and now Chantilly is in the state lacrosse tournament," said coach Mike Murphy, 37, a 1988 Chantilly graduate who now is a teacher at the school and in his 12th year as a youth rugby coach. "Rugby can be like that."

Willatt, who has orally committed to play rugby next year at Ohio State, spends much of the practice spouting terms such as "scrum, crouch, tuck, pause, engage, set it, pit, ruck" and an Americanized term Murphy likes to toss around, "junkyard."

It's a language Willatt's been learning since he was a 10-year-old playing pickup rugby on summer visits to his father's native England.

An 18-year-old Oakton High School senior, Willatt is what Murphy calls the league's "poster child" -- the kind of player area organizers hope will comprise the league annually.

Most are varsity castoffs whose practice gear bears the evidence of their former loyalties; one player in a mesh Oakton lacrosse jersey and another in a black cut-off T-shirt with the words "Chantilly Basketball." Some are football players looking for unorthodox offseason conditioning options or a new challenge, such as Springfield Youth Club West End's Titus Pennington, a South County senior who rushed for nearly 1,000 yards as a running back this fall.

"A lot of kids, if they're not the star of their high school sport, even if they are one of the starting players, with, like, football, they might not get the ball every time," said Willatt, one of five NOVA U-19 players whose parents are British. "Rugby, they get out there, they get their hands on the ball, they get to hit people, they get to tackle."

Potomac Rugby Union -- a group that has managed metro area rugby since the late 1970s -- sparked "Rugby Virginia" as its first step toward creating a state-based model. "What Americans understand is state championships," said Kurt Mockenhaupt, executive director of PRU and a board member with Rugby Virginia.

In the past, the PRU's best teams from Virginia, Maryland and the District played in a complex playoff system, with the best teams advancing to a mid-Atlantic playoff before going on to the national championship tournament, but "now, with the Virginia state system, it's easy to see how it's supposed to play out," Willatt said.

Rugby Virginia's emergence from the PRU coincides with this year's national tournament last weekend in Pittsburgh, which for the first time in nearly 30 years of existence separated club and school-based teams, having each play for separate national titles. "One of our goals is to get enough teams to qualify to be part of the VHSL and [Virginia Independent School League] and have that recognition," Mockenhaupt said.

The VHSL requires that any varsity team be attached to a school within its membership. T.C. Williams, which went 3-4 in Rugby Virginia this spring, is the state's only public high school with such a team as all 25 players attend the Alexandria school.

However, the rest of Virginia is still far from meeting the VHSL's requirements for an official stamp, but organizers have placed "Game Development Officers" in Richmond, the Tidewater area, Fredericksburg, Charlottesville and Roanoke whose job it is to "Get youth and high school rugby up and running as quick as they can," Mockenhaupt said.

"I'd just like to see [rugby] become a varsity sport in high schools," Willatt said. "Playing for your high school is just a big deal and especially at American high schools."


Although Virginia is getting ready for its first unofficial state rugby championship, the sport is flourishing elsewhere in the area.

Look no further than Gonzaga's appearance at last weekend's USA Rugby National Championships -- a Pittsburgh tournament that welcomed the nation's top high school teams.

Gonzaga, the top seed from the mid-Atlantic, finished ranked sixth in the nation. The Eagles have 150 players in the program competing on four teams -- A team, B team and freshman and sophomore teams. Rugby is a recognized varsity sport at Gonzaga.

Elsewhere, the metro area is dense with quality rugby, accounting for 41 of the mid-Atlantic's 98 under-19 teams, according to a recent study by eRugbynews.com. Eleven of those are girls' teams, according to the study. There are 777 teams nationwide.

The new Virginia league "will encourage growth in school teams, which is where we need to be because with school teams comes administration, fields, stipends and all the stuff that comes with being a varsity program," Gonzaga Coach Lee Kelly said.

--B.J. Koubaroulis

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Alec Lemon, Arundel

Alec Lemon, Arundel

The Post's B.J. Koubaroulis sits down with Arundel wide receiver Alec Lemon, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound junior who is aiming to show college recruiters that he is more than just a product of Arundel's pass-oriented offense. Lemon averaged 69.2 yards per catch last season, with 969 yards and 13 touchdowns.

NR Semifinals

Robinson Wins in Double OT
Barry's Goal Sinks Chantilly; Westfield Edges Centreville
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post

Trying to put away Chantilly in a Virginia AAA Northern Region girls' soccer tournament semifinal last night, Robinson sophomore Audrey Barry kept missing.

In the final 20 minutes of regulation, Barry watched in frustration as shot after shot left her foot for uncharted territory behind the goal, her highlight-reel cutbacks, dribbles and step-throughs unable to result in a goal at South County.

She soon realized what was wrong.

"I was pressing," said Barry, whose confidence began to waiver despite the fact that she has recorded 16 goals and 10 assists this spring. "I didn't know whether to pass or shoot."

What changes did Barry make in finishing a point-blank eight-yarder in the second overtime for a 2-1 victory?

"I just kept pressing," said Barry, who turned off her defender's hip, reeled in the loose ball and restored order for the Rams, who were pushed to the brink despite having beaten Chantilly (10-5-3) twice this spring.

The victory pushed No. 1 Robinson into tomorrow's 5:30 p.m. final at Yorktown against Westfield -- a 3-2 winner over Centreville in last night's other semifinal.

Robinson (17-1) has beaten Westfield (12-3-4) twice, both by scores of 2-1, including in the May 17 Concorde District tournament final.

"We know a lot about them and they know a lot about us, so it's going to come down to who wants it more," Barry said.

Trailing 2-1 in the final 20 minutes of last night's semifinal, Westfield got goals from sophomore reserve forward Jessica Andre (five goals, two assists) and sophomore midfielder Brittany Bonzano (11 goals, five assists).

Bonzano poured in the game-winner in the 70th minute, fighting through a sliding save by the goalkeeper and an extra defender on her hip before pushing a slow-rolling shot into the front left corner.

Westfield was able to advance despite being without its leading scorer, Virginia Commonwealth-bound senior forward Heather Hovanesian (18 goals, eight assists), who tore her right anterior cruciate ligament in last week's quarterfinal.

"We are used to finding Heather, Heather taking [the ball] up and doing something with it, but now we are just hoping for the best and working with what we have," said Westfield's Abby Sams, one of nine Bulldogs who combined for 15 shots -- including 10 on goal.

Three Bulldogs scored, including Sams's 26th-minute equalizer that tied the game at 1 following a 14th-minute hook-up from Centreville's Katie Cramp to Erika Pinto.

Less than a minute later, Centreville's Molly MacDonnell turned a throw-in into a 12-yard floater that gave the Wildcats a 2-1 halftime lead and hope that they could continue to turn their 4-6-2 regular season struggle into their fifth state tournament berth this decade.

The Wildcats' postseason included an upset over No. 5 Stone Bridge last week. They couldn't hold on last night, however, and their season ended at 7-8-2.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Anthony Young-Wiseman, Whitman

Anthony Young-Wiseman, Whitman

This week's Recruiting Spotlight features Reporter B.J. Koubaroulis sitting down with Whitman multi-positional standout Anthony Young-Wiseman. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound junior sacrificed his personal statistics at wide receiver, taking the offensive reigns at quarterback and solidifying the secondary as a defensive back, where he used his 4.6 speed to help the Vikings to a 6-5 record. Young-Wiseman, headed to this weekend's state track and field tournament in the 200-meter, long jump and 4x200-meter relay, has offers from West Virginia, Duke and Syracuse and will be attending camps at Maryland, Clemson, Virginia and Penn State this summer. Coach Jim Kuhn has pledged to get the rising senior the ball "as many ways as you can." The 17-year-old enjoys making musical beats in his spare time.

Girls' Soccer Regionals

Stone Bridge Tops West Springfield
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, May 21, 2008; E07

Read the Loudoun Extra Version of this story

Stone Bridge senior forward Krysti Rodriguez sprinted down the left sideline, cut up the field and then pulled away, leaving her defender a step behind before finishing a right-footed slow-roller from 20 yards that slipped inside the right post in the 68th minute, giving Stone Bridge a 2-1 victory at West Springfield in last night's first round of the Virginia AAA Northern Region girls' soccer tournament.

"It was a lot of pressure, with the game being tied 1-1, I knew I needed to score," said Rodriguez, a junior All-Met who has committed to Hofstra.

No. 5 Stone Bridge (12-4) and No. 7 West Springfield (12-3-2) have spent much of the season ranked among the top three in The Post's Top 10, and each was considered a state title contender.

However, last week's district tournament upsets -- Stone Bridge's Liberty District semifinal loss to Madison and West Springfield's overtime Patriot District championship triumph over No. 2 South County -- forced last night's early first-round elimination game between the two powers, ending West Springfield's season and giving the Bulldogs vindication for their 3-2 season-opening loss to the Spartans.

"I was disappointed with our performance in the district playoffs, but sometimes things happen for a reason," Stone Bridge Coach Rae Ann Taylor said.

Abigail Apistolas, who finished sophomore Maggie Sheirling's high-arcing misfire on a run-through with a well-timed 20-yard boot for a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute, said the district tournament loss, which made Stone Bridge a fourth-seed, "ended up being really good for us. I feel like we've already gotten our tough game out of the way."

Stone Bridge has won three of its past four games heading into Thursday's game against Centreville -- a 2-1 winner over Mount Vernon last night.

West Springfield sophomore midfielder Tina Rader scored her first goal of the season -- a left-footed equalizer from 10 yards out near the right post in the 37th minute-- before Rodriguez's winner.

Woodson, Robinson Win

William and Mary-bound senior midfielder Diana Weigel drilled a 20-yard blast under the crossbar to give W.T. Woodson a 3-2 overtime home victory over Lake Braddock last night, setting up Thursday's 7 p.m. quarterfinal game at top-ranked Robinson -- a 3-0 winner over Edison last night.

The matchup will pit Liberty District Player of the Year Niki Mercier (11 goals), junior forward Lindsay Ottavio (18 goals) and the fourth-ranked Cavaliers' high-powered offense (3.75 goals per game) against the No. 1 Rams (15-1) and goalkeeper Katherine Yount.

Yount, the Concorde District Player of the Year, has allowed only five total goals with 10 shutouts, including a 2-0 victory over Woodson on March 12.

The Rams, in search of their ninth region title since 1984, previously won the region in 2002. Woodson is 12-2-2.

South County Hat Trick

Sophomore forward Alex Reed scored three goals in South County's 5-3 victory over McLean last night at Madison.

Reed's first hat trick of the season helped the second-ranked Stallions (13-1-2) advance to Thursday's 7 p.m. home quarterfinal against fourth-seeded Chantilly -- a 1-0 winner at Yorktown last night.

Chantilly junior Kristen Melchiori finished junior midfielder Kaitlyn Manley's first-half setup to force a rematch of the teams' 1-1 tie on April 1.

The Chargers (9-4-2) had a potential winning goal waved off in the final five seconds of the regular-season matchup with the Stallions.

"I think it will be [physical]," South County Coach Maureen Saale said. "Both teams are going to be ready for each other."

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Madison Girls' Soccer

Diggs Scores Twice to Lead Madison Over McLean in Title Game
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, May 17, 2008; E09

Entering the postseason with 13 goals, Madison's Sara Diggs already had proven herself as one of the area's finest finishers. The same could not be said of her team.

The Warhawks entered Tuesday's Virginia AAA Liberty District tournament first round with just seven wins and a defense that had allowed 20 goals, prompting the coaching staff to gamble on a formation change from its traditional 4-4-2 approach to a 3-5-2 formation.

In the new style, Diggs has remained constant, recording two of her four postseason goals in a 2-0 semifinal upset of fifth-ranked Stone Bridge (11-4) on Wednesday and two more scores in last night's 3-2 victory over visiting McLean, giving the Warhawks their first Liberty District girls' title since 1994.

"It's working," said Diggs, who finished a 14th minute eight-yard blast and a 55th minute left-footed one-on-one breakaway last night. "I'm able to get more one-on-one situations where I can power through" the defender.

Behind a confident attack, revived defense and strong goalkeeping by senior Grace Rosales, who stuffed 11 of McLean's shots last night, Madison (10-5) has now outscored its postseason opponents 6-2 and heads into next week's Virginia AAA Northern Region tournament as a No. 1 seed. The Warhawks will face Lee.

The formation change "puts more pressure on me," Rosales said. "It takes away a back and allows me to play further up on my line, but it gets us more offense because we just decided to go for it."

McLean (8-5-3) could not capitalize on eight corner tries and had several crisp set-pieces disrupted by the Warhawks' feisty backline -- Sami Kuykendall, Annmarie Irwin and Katie Grasso.

Fifth-seeded McLean, which had not lost in seven games since mid-April, ended its string of upsets, which included Tuesday's first-round win over Jefferson and semifinal victory over top-seed and fourth-ranked W.T. Woodson (11-2-2) Wednesday.

Madison senior forward Blake Krejci finished a two-on-one fast break offering from freshman midfielder Katy Colas with a right-footed 15-yard boot for a 2-0 lead in the 28th minute before McLean freshman midfielder Andie Romness (four goals, nine assists) answered with a ground-skimming 25-yarder that caught the Warhawks off-guard and cut the lead to 2-1 in the 33rd minute.

Seven minutes after Diggs's second-half breakaway finish, McLean junior Caity Flint (11 goals) cut the Warhawks' lead to 3-2 when she bent a left-footed 25-yarder under the crossbar, but the Warhawks' defense settled back, stuffing seven shots and four corner tries in the final 16 minutes.

"We just stayed together and tried to stay organized," Rosales said.

Jefferson Repeats

Jefferson senior midfielder Robert MacGregor was in full-stride, rushing to the right post all the while eyeing senior forward Bryan Blada's 30-yard high-arcing right-footed cross.

Sandwiched between two Stone Bridge defenders, MacGregor shifted into a higher gear, shedding both opponents for a one-touch finish in the 49th minute that broke open last night's 2-0 boys' championship victory over top-ranked Stone Bridge.

It was the Colonials' second straight Liberty District championship.

No. 5 Jefferson (12-1-2), which battled Stone Bridge (14-1-1) to a scoreless tie on April 18, ended the Bulldogs' undefeated season, earned the top seed in next week's region tournament and resurrected thoughts of last spring's unlikely run to the school's first Virginia AAA state championship.

"It's a little different this year because last year no one expected us to do it," said senior goalkeeper Ariel Brown, who made five of his nine acrobatic saves in the second half.

Five minutes after MacGregor's game-winner, Jefferson junior midfielder Justin Etkin recorded his 10th assist of the season on a 20-yard free kick that Ayman Abunimer headed home for a 2-0 lead.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

FSN Fastbreak -- Soccer Update

The Madison girls' soccer team is on another postseason dream run and Robinson seems primed to take the Concorde. Herndon and Westfield will battle for the Concorde title on Friday.

On this all new webisode of FSN Fastbreak, B.J. Koubaroulis and Dave Buschenfeldt break down the postseason brackets and talk a little FUTBOL!!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sean Stanley, Gaithersburg

Sean Stanley, Gaithersburg

This week's Recruiting Spotlight video features reporter B.J. Koubaroulis sitting down with Gaithersburg All-Met defensive lineman Sean Stanley. The 6-foot-2, 245-pound 16-year-old junior already wears a size 17 shoe but is still waiting to hit his growth-spurt. Stanley used his 4.8-second 40-yard speed to record 37 tackles and 16.5 sacks with nine forced fumbles this fall, garnering offers from Maryland, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Rutgers, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Temple, Clemson, Georgia, Tennessee, West Virginia, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Stanford, Northwestern and Illinois. Stanley moved to the area from Louisiana when he was 14 years old and was soon been dubbed "the most dominant player in Montgomery County." He is ranked as high as 13th among the nation's top defensive lineman in the class of 2009.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Girls' Lax: Corridon Helps Bishop Ireton Move to League Final

Corridon Helps Bishop Ireton Move to League Final
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Friday, May 9, 2008; E10

Bishop Ireton junior goalkeeper Bridgett Corridon admits that she doesn't like the pressure -- the lonely feeling of standing between the lacrosse goal posts by herself.

Much of that anxiety stems from a loss two years ago against Holy Cross, when Corridon felt that she let herself and her teammates down in a pivotal moment.

"We were on [junior varsity] and it was our last game, and there was 30 seconds left," Corridon said. "[Holy Cross] scored and they won, on me. Ever since then, I just, uh, I hate Holy Cross."

Yesterday, Corridon earned back some of that lost confidence, making three of her seven saves in the final 2 1/2 minutes to help Ireton hang on for an 11-10 win over Holy Cross in a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference girls' semifinal.

In Monday's 5 p.m. WCAC girls' final at the University of Maryland's Ludwig Field, the Cardinals (16-3) will face No. 8 Good Counsel -- a 21-9 winner yesterday over O'Connell. Good Counsel (14-6) has won the past four WCAC titles, and Ireton has lost in its only two championship game appearances, in 2003 and 2006.

Yesterday at Ireton, after junior Brittany Barnwell's fourth goal -- a right-handed 10-yard game-winner with 3:39 left -- Corridon made back-to-back saves with 2:27 left and then saved Hayley Katzenberger's potential game-tying free-position shot with 1:04 left.

The saves "were big motivation-boosters," said Corridon, who allowed six goals in the first half as Holy Cross took a 4-1 lead before the Cardinals tied it at 6 by halftime. "I needed to keep myself in the game. Saves help me do that."

Barnwell (four goals, five shots on goal, four turnovers) led the Ireton attack, which featured four different goal scorers in the second half. Junior Lauren Gray (one goal) dominated the draw control, winning 5 of 9 second-half tries.

"Draw controls are the key to the game basically," Gray said. "We know if we get a draw control, we are going to get a goal. Going in there, I knew I had to step it up and get as many draw controls as I could and get [the ball] down to the other end."

Barnwell's winner came less than three minutes after the Cardinals had back-to-back goals waved off and less than two minutes after the Tartans' Grace Dinn (five goals) forced the game's seventh tie at 10 with an overhand free-position shot with 4:59 left.

Bishop Ireton 11 Holy Cross 10 Up Next: Bishop Ireton will face No. 8 Good Counsel on Monday at 5 p.m. at the University of Maryland. Automatic Tela: Ireton's Julianne Tela, a George Mason-bound senior midfielder, has 208 points in her four-year career. She had two goals yesterday.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Broad Run Gets a Leg Up on Rival

Broad Run Gets a Leg Up on Rival
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, May 6, 2008; Page E08

Six minutes into Broad Run's 3-1 home victory over Stone Bridge, Spartans goalkeeper Caitlin Hunter ran through Stone Bridge freshman defender Emily Fredrikson, leaving Fredrikson limp at the front right corner of the penalty box and adding new fuel to the rivalry between the two Ashburn girls' soccer powerhouses.

Because No. 4 Stone Bridge (9-3, 5-1 Virginia AAA Liberty District) and No. 5 Broad Run (13-0, 11-0 Virginia AA Dulles District) play in different conferences, last night's meeting meant little in terms of records and postseason posturing, but "It's definitely bragging rights," said Hunter, a UNC Wilmington signee, who had 10 saves last night and has allowed just five goals this season with nine shutouts.

"It's a pride thing. It's Stone Bridge-Broad Run and it's always going to be a big deal," said Broad Run junior forward Kelly Evans (18 goals, 7 assists), who corralled freshman defender Whitney Church's header offering and scored her 18th goal on a one-touch turn-around left-footed ricochet off the crossbar, giving the Spartans a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute.

Less than 40 seconds later, Stone Bridge senior forward Melony Davis (10 goals, 2 assists) answered with a breakaway finish, knotting the game at 1.

Despite being outshot 10-6 in the first half, Broad Run capitalized on fewer scoring chances, taking a 3-1 lead on back-to-back goals from sophomore forward Rachel Tharp and senior forward Carina Chavez. Both scoring sets were kick-started by powerful throw-ins by junior defender Valerie Powell (11 goals, 9 assists).

The victory kept Broad Run undefeated and ended Stone Bridge's win streak at four, but it also did much to improve Broad Run's résumé, which had been built on 12 straight victories against seemingly weaker competition.

"Stone Bridge plays a lot of quality teams during the season and, not to say that we don't, but walking into this game, I knew it was going to be close and I knew that we were comparable," said Broad Run Coach Claire Collins.

Entering last night's game, Broad Run led the Post's Top 10 teams in goals per game (4.8) and shutouts (9) and was second in goals allowed (0.5), but the Spartans had accumulated most of those eye-popping stats against opponents from the Virginia AA Dulles District, where they have dominated in recent seasons.

In playing perhaps the area's most difficult schedule, Stone Bridge entered the rivalry with similar numbers (3.18 goals per game, 0.9 goals allowed, 5 shutouts), sporting a 2-2 record against ranked teams, including losses to No. 6 West Springfield (8-2-1) and No. 2 Woodson (9-2-1) and wins over No. 1 Robinson (10-1) and then fourth-ranked Chantilly (7-2-2).

No. 5 Broad Run 3, No. 4 Stone Bridge 1

College Soccer Hotbed: Last night's matchup featured seven players that have either signed or committed to play college soccer.

Catching a Break: Broad Run successfully defended all four of Stone Bridge's second-half corner kick tries and three free kicks, twice getting unlikely saves from players other than the goalkeeper.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Balance Of Power Shifts in Patriot

Balance Of Power Shifts in Patriot
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, May 3, 2008; E05

Following last night's 1-0 home victory over two-time defending Virginia AAA state champion Lake Braddock, South County's players pumped their fists as they flooded the field and giggled throughout a postgame huddle with their coach.

The joy -- or relief -- came naturally for a team seeking confirmation that it is the best in what is considered Virginia's most skilled conference, the Virginia AAA Patriot District -- where Lake Braddock (6-4, 5-1) has reigned in recent seasons, sending 32 players to college soccer programs in the past eight years.

"We went into this game knowing that they had been the best team and we wanted to change that," said South County junior Paige Ritari, who recorded her sixth assist on a 44th minute left-footed cross that sophomore Morgan Duffy buried with a leaping left-footed touch.

The victory gave No. 3 South County (9-0-2, 4-0-1) the top seed in the upcoming district tournament and ended No. 10 Lake Braddock's winning streak at five.

"We weren't scared going into this game," said Duffy, who has five goals and two assists and is part of an attack that is scoring 2.7 goals per game.

The Stallions' defense has allowed five goals, shut out eight opponents and outscored 11 opponents 30-5.

Talented players such as Duffy, Ritari and speedy forward Alex Reed (nine goals, four assists) have put the third-year Lorton program on the soccer map, tying West Springfield last week and downing traditional Northern Region giants such as Centreville before dominating Lake Braddock in every key category including shots on goal (14-8) and corner kicks (7-5).

The school draws from a talent pool that includes six premier Division I club players, 14 players who have played at the Region I Premier or WAGS Division I level -- including three players whose club team is a current Virginia State Cup Champion.

And considering that starting goalkeeper Caitlyn Kost (32 saves), Duffy and Reed are all sophomores and Kelley Johnson (three goals, two assists) is a freshman, the power shift might be seismic rather than temporary.

"Before when people thought of Patriot District, they thought of West Springfield and Lake Braddock, but now South County is going to pop in their minds and probably stick out the most," Reed said.

No. 3 South County 1 No. 10 Lake Braddock 0 Helpers: Of South County's 29 goals, 20 have been assisted. A Bruin Keeper: Lake Braddock junior goalkeeper Caitlin Landsman had 13 saves in last night's loss.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Terrence Stephens, Quince Orchard

Terrence Stephens, Quince Orchard

This week's Recruiting Spotlight features reporter B.J. Koubaroulis sitting down with Quince Orchard's Terrence Stephens, a 6-foot-2, 285-pound defensive lineman with offers from Maryland, Nebraska, Stanford, West Virginia, Syracuse, N.C. State, Connecticut and Penn State. Stephens, a talented singer, was cut in the early rounds of Fox's American Idol, allowing him to focus on the football field, where the All-Met helped Quince Orchard (14-0) to a state championship and the Post's No. 1 ranking by terrorizing quarterbacks with 10.5 sacks, 56 tackles and two interceptions. Stephens placed second in the Maryland 285-pound state wrestling finals furthering his transformation from a once soft ninth-grader that football coach Dave Mencarini nicknamed "pillow."

Battlefield Girls' Soccer

High-Scoring Duo Could Put Battlefield on the Map
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, April 30, 2008; E10

In many ways, Battlefield High School forwards Jessica Jewell and Sahar Aflaki share the same story.

They are two of the state's most dynamic and talented forwards, yet most girls' soccer coaches and players outside of the Virginia AAA Cedar Run District have never heard of them.

"No one has really emerged from the Cedar Run on the state level," Bobcats Coach Kevin Hilton said. "I think people look at Battlefield and think, 'That's a pretty good program, but I don't know if it's a great program.' "

If that is to change, Battlefield (10-1) -- a fourth-year program that has never made it past the Virginia AAA Northwest Region tournament's first round -- will rely heavily on Jewell and Aflaki, who have combined for 31 of the Bobcats' 46 goals this season.

Jewell, positioned at defender for her first two seasons of high school, has thrived as a forward, scoring 14 goals last season and recording 15 goals and 10 assists midway through this spring.

The 5-foot-5, aggressive speedster had an assist in Battlefield's 4-1 victory over Fauquier last night, but has yet to receive a college scholarship offer. She is considering walking on at the college level.

"I don't know how she slipped through the cracks, honestly," Hilton said.

Because Aflaki, a sophomore, missed most of last season with an ankle injury, she too entered this season "flying under the radar," Hilton said.

Aflaki has scored 16 goals (with seven assists), including a 30-yard game-winner in the 79th minute of a 3-2 victory over Osbourn Park on April 18.

"Jesse is more 'get into the box and take people on,' and Sahar has a really strong shot," Hilton said. "At least in our district, I don't know if there is a better tandem up top."

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Spratt Beats Von Flue in Mixed Martial Arts

Spratt Beats Von Flue in Mixed Martial Arts
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, April 27, 2008; D11

Instead of gripping Pete Spratt's left leg on his single-leg takedown attempt, Jason Von Flue stumbled face-first into Spratt's step-back right-handed uppercut knockout blow, which folded Von Flue 1 minute 10 seconds into the main event of Ultimate Warrior Challenge-INVASION -- last night's nine-card Mixed Martial Arts cage-style event at George Mason University's Patriot Center.

"On a couple of his shot attempts, he was ducking under my punches," said Spratt, a 5-foot-9 169-pounder, who bounced back after a controversial loss to Ryan Ford. "I thought the next time he shoots, I'm going to throw low and that's what I did. I caught him on the throat and stopped the blood-flow to the brain."

Spratt (20-11) dominated the fight from the start, taking control on a few erratic right hooks during an early flurry. He followed a left roundhouse kick with several devastating body shots that sent Von Flue (12-9-1) back-pedaling and to the hexagon's canvas three times within the first three minutes.

"I saw the fear and smelled blood and went for the finish," Spratt said.

The event, promoted as the biggest ever MMA event here, drew 4,828 fans and featured a mix of top fighters from organizations such as UFC, Pride, IFL and Bodog as well as locals from the region's top gyms.

It was the second event at Patriot Center, following SMASH -- a Nov. 30 10-card bout organized by local promoters that drew fewer than 2,500 fans.

According to promoters, UWC plans another card at Patriot Center in September.

In his return from Albuquerque, former DeMatha wrestler and two-time All-Met Marcus Foran (6-2) was the local favorite, sinking a deep arm-bar that submitted Baltimore's Tenyeh Dixon (2-3) 4:24 into the second round.

Foran spun off a side-mount and caught Dixon's arm and "tried to break it off," said Foran, who threw his hips into the lock, forcing Dixon to tap out. "I've been looking forward to this since the day they said 'Hey, you're fighting in the D.C. area.' "

Herndon-based gym One Spirit Martial Arts went 2-1 with wins from Reshad Woods and Aaron Riley while Reston native and former George Mason wrestler Johnny Curtis dropped to 1-1 in his pro career, falling on a solid right hook knockout blow from Josh Feldman (1-0) 1:07 into the first round.

Woods, a 6-foot-2, 185-pounder, knocked out Ron Stallings (5-2-1) 1:25 into the first round, narrowly avoiding an arm-bar submission by power-slamming Stallings back to the canvas, leaving him unconscious.

"My instinct just took over," said Woods (5-1). The arm-bar "was really tight. . . . That was the last resort."

Riley (24-10-1) overwhelmed Brazil's Thiago Minu, pounding Minu with a series of hammer-fists, body shots and hooks from a mounted position, earning a unanimous decision.

District native Mike Easton (5-1) followed a series of leg kicks with a devastating right that gave him a first-round knockout of Gerald Levato (5-4).

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Brothers Combine Interests, Find Home In UWC

Brothers Combine Interests, Find Home In UWC

Marcus and Marcello Foran always have been close, but until recently, the two brothers from Prince George's County have not had the chance to combine their very different interests.

Marcus, a two-time All-Met wrestler who was inducted into the DeMatha Athletic Hall of Fame in October, always has been the tough guy, according to Marcello, a 38-year-old entrepreneur. "I've always been the businessperson," he said.

The Foran brothers found the perfect event for their combination of tough guy and business savvy in the Ultimate Warrior Challenge -- Invasion, tonight's 10-card, mixed martial arts cage-style draw at George Mason University's Patriot Center.

Marcello, owner and founder of UWC, and Marcus, who is fighting in the event, have "been feeding off of each other for this," said Marcus, 33, a former Special Forces Marine who earned a black belt in traditional Japanese karate while stationed in Okinawa for nearly seven years.

"I'm going to fight in front of everyone [I] knew growing up, and I'm not going to lose in front of them," said Marcus, who was 153-10-3 as a high school wrestler. He competed primarily at DeMatha before graduating from Riverdale Baptist, where he went 35-3-2 and placed third nationally in 1993. "The wrestling has been my biggest asset when it comes to MMA."

Marcus (4-2) spent a month in the Philippines dieting and training for tonight's 185-pound match against Baltimore's Tenyeh Dixon (2-2). Marcus said he expects to use a combination of wrestling, military combat techniques and Japanese karate.

Marcello's preparation for tonight's card?

"I did Carmen Electra's birthday last Saturday at PUR Nightclub, and then I was with Fergie down in Atlantis [in the Bahamas] last weekend," said Marcello, who built his Las Vegas-based business -- Ultimate VIP -- establishing exclusive getaways and experiences for the rich and famous, before stumbling into fight promotion. "I went to support my brother at his first fight in Albuquerque, and I got pumped up. I was like . . . this is going to blow up."

Tonight's main event will be headlined by 170-pounders Pete Spratt (19-11) and Jason Von Flue (12-8-1), and the card includes fighters who previously have competed in organizations such as the UFC, Pride, IFL and Bodog as well as locals from the region's top gyms, including Lloyd Irvin's Martial Arts, Ground Control Academy, One Spirit Martial Arts and the Mario Yamasaki Academy, run by the top UFC referee.

On Nov. 30, SMASH -- a 10-card bout organized by local promoters -- drew fewer than 2,500 fans, a number that Marcello hoped to double by improving the talent level of the fighters involved and by promising appearances by MMA stars such as UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton"Rampage" Jackson and WEC welterweight champion Carlos"Natural Born Killer" Condit.

While Marcello is content selling tonight's event to the relatively untapped MMA audience in the Washington area, Marcus is focused on a different sort of successful homecoming.

"I never thought I'd be fighting back close to my home town," Marcus said. "At this point right now, I'm more excited. It brings my intensity up, and it brought my training intensity up."

-- B.J. Koubaroulis