Mission and state championship accomplished.
For the first time in school history, the Washington-Lee Generals are the Virginia High School League’s state champions in boys soccer. The Generals won the crown June 11 at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax by defeating the First Colonial Patriots of Virginia Beach, 3-1, in the 6A tournament title game.
In its only previous state tournament appearance, W-L finished second in 2014. It was after that season that the team set a goal to return to the state tournament and win the title.
"This is the best feeling ever, it's amazing," said Washington-Lee senior Maycol Nunez, who scored two goals to give his team a 2-0 lead in the state final after First Colonial of Virginia Beach took the first shot. "Everyone's goal was to win states."
The two goals gave Nunez 27 for the season.
The Generals (18-1-2) led in the state final, 2-0, at halftime. First Colonial scored with 24:07 left in the game and had chances after that to tie, keeping goalie Julian Esquer-Perez plenty busy by making a number of saves.
"We knew they would play hard and be tough to beat," W-L senior Harrison Ramos said. "I'm so happy for my team and teammates to win this."
Washington-Lee took a two-goal lead at 3-1 when Benhur Gebretnsaie scored off a rebounded shot initially taken by senior Lucas Mendes with 6:13 to play to give the Generals some cushion.
"We started fast, then struggled in the middle of the game, but we got that goal back and finished strong," Gebretnsaie said. "A state title is what we have been waiting for."
Teammate Noah Goodkind agreed. "Maycol gave us a nice cushion with his two goals, then we came back strong at the end. The whole season is kind of playing back in my mind right now. We were motivated and reached our goal."
The Generals were 2-0 in the state tourney, routing Grassfield, 6-0, in the June 10 semifinals at Robinson, and won their final six games of the season following a semifinal loss to the Yorktown Patriots in the Liberty Conference Tournament. That was the team's only loss in 2016. Washington-Lee responded from that loss by winning the 6A North Region Tournament with a 4-0 record, then the state.
"We didn't know what it was like to lose," Mendes said. "We didn't like the feeling, so we said we can't let that happen again. A big thing for us this season is we stayed healthy as a team and motivated, and we battled through all the distractions."
Washington-Lee outscored opponents, 20-3, in its final six games.
In the state semifinal win over Grassfield, Nunez scored four goals, Mendes had a goal and three assists and Andrew Kaiman had the other goal.
"Maycol had a great day," Mendes said.
Esquer-Perez had a couple of saves. Anchoring the W-L defense were Aidan Pond, Colin MacEwen, Marty Hockey, Thomas Kelsch and Goodkind.
Washington-Lee coach Jimmy Carrasquillo said his team played one of its best games in the semifinal win.
For the season, Mendes finished with 21 goals and nine assists. Goodkind scored six goals, Geronimo Kutrzbach scored five, Kaiman four, and Gebretnsaie (seven assists) and Abdullah Al'Rubaiy three each.
Chris Palacios also played a lot in goal this season for the Generals.
NOTE: The state team championship is the first for any team at the school since 1976 when the W-L girls tennis team won a state crown . . . The W-L girls gymnastics team finished second in the state in 2012 and 2013 and the W-L girls were second in state cross country in 2014 . . . Carrasquillo has been W-L's coach for 17 years and has 174 career wins as the school's coach.