Behind dazzling runs and scores by Allie Solomon and Allie Kryjak, the Cougars took control of a hard-fought game and won over Northwest, 16-11.
Next came dominating wins over Watkins Mill, Clarksburg and Gaithersburg. The stretch of games occurred over a three-day period, and two of them saw no service from Kryjak, the teamâs ace scorer. She suffered a concussion after being whacked on the head in a follow-through at Watkins Mill. Solomon took up the scoring slack with goals and four assists.
Nine players scored goals against Clarksburg in a 17-8 win that displayed the future Cougar team for most of the second half. QO scored the first seven goals of the game and led at halftime 12-1.
ââStarterâ on this team [doesn't] mean that much any more,â said Coach Jennifer Holliday after the Watkins Mill game. âIâve got a subbing line now that I wanted to establish.â
The seniors are stepping up as Abby Boynton and Madeline Korol have had fine games in this stretch, along with Kryjak and Solomon. âItâs a lot more fun this year. Everything is just flowing,â said Solomon.
Against Gaithersburg, the Cougars took a shaky two-goal lead into halftime, 4-2, then blew open the contest in the second half, winning 15-3. Heath Saffer led all scorers with three; four other Cougars notched two goals apiece. The defense dominated the Trojans, getting a vast percentage of the ground balls and racking up steal after steal.
Freshman Jake Christensen had an impressive showing in his game against Watkins Mill. He led the offensive attack for QO, ripping shot after shot and seeing five hit the back of the net. Christensen leads the team in goals scored. John Barkanic was solid in goal for QO, allowing just three goals in the game. Chris McPherson added two goals in QOâs 10-3 victory.
Trailing at the half at Clarksburg, QO could never even the game, even though taking the balance of possession in the Coyote end. Final was 4-3, Clarksburg. âWe just didnât manage our offense well,â said Coach Mike Kowalick. âEverybody looks at us as their Super Bowl and they just wanted it more than we did.â
After a slow start against rival Northwest, the Cougars found their groove in the second half. With a 3-2 lead, QO scored three straight goals in the third quarter. Christensen and Chaikin each notched hat tricks for QO. Saffer added two goals, powering Quince Orchard to a 11-4 victory.
The Cougars continued their mini-streak of wins by downing Seneca Valley 8-4. The key hit was Michael Cudaâs RBI double, bringing in Billy Plante.
With Alex Thoms dominant and led by a huge eight-run fifth inning, the Cougars shut out Clarksburg 11-0 in 5 innings.
QO could not keep up in an important game against rival Northwest. Chad Martin started well on the mound for the Cougars but then lost his touch, and Northwest got out to a comfortable 8-2 lead, the final score.
In a back-and-forth match against the always tough Damascus Hornets, QO went into the seventh inning down 8-5 but tied it up to send it to extra innings. In the top of the 11th, David Thibeau scored on a Damascus balk to put the Cougars ahead. Bo Hayward closed it out with the help of an unassisted double play turned by Thoms. Final: 9-8 QO.
Trailing 5-1 in the sixth against Gaithersburg, the Cougars had a nine-run explosion and survived a two-run Trojan seventh for the 10-8 win. The Trojans took the lead with four runs off Thoms, but the sixth settled the issue. Thoms drove in two runs while Plante knocked in three with a triple to center field.
A series of close games ended with a big loss at Seneca Valley, 12-2 in five innings. JV pitcher Susanna Weaver relieved starter Brooke Beisner when Beisner was struck by a shot up the middle. Maggie McCaughey also pitched.
Against Poolesville, Leanne Youstra continued her impressive play with two hits and two runs scored. Strong pitching from Beisner and key hits by Ellen Goldstein and Youstra had QO in front 3-1 going into the bottom of the fifth. Poolesvilleâs bats finally woke up as the Falcons scored two runs to tie. Juliana Segura knocked in a run for QO. Poolesville recorded a single and a double to bring home two runs and defeat QO, 4-3.
Another thriller occurred against Clarksburg as a once-comfortable lead dribbled away. Pinch-hitter Kelly Coffey delivered a solid double to left to lead off the sixth, and Grace Tooheyâs ground out to short on a full count drove in what proved to be the winning run in a 6-5 win over the Coyotes.
The Cougars struggled to a 10-7, nine-inning win over Northwest. Megan Dougherty made play after play at third, two gems in a row in the fifth inning, a leaping stab of a catch in the ninth and generally the big play when she had to.
At the annual trip to Damascus, the Cougars suffered a 10-0, five-inning drubbing, and their QO bats never got going against Gaithersburg, falling 9-1.
The Cougars continued their frustration with a 3-0 loss to Northwest. Against Poolesville, Cougar weapons made brief appearances before they were conquered in three, 11-25, 19-25 and 21-25. In the final game, Matt Hauri showed what could have been. In a period of a few minutes, the senior, tallest member of the Cougar squad compiled two blocks and three kills to give the Cougars a one-point lead, their last of the game.
The teamâs struggles continued in its match against Gaithersburg. The competition was close throughout, though, as Shaun McGovern and Clay Shelton-James led the way on the court. Despite falling in three straight sets to their opponents, QO put up a good fight, losing each set by less than eight points.
After taking the first two sets from Northwest, QO seemed on its way to another easy victory. But Northwest rallied back to win the next two sets and tie the match at 2. Johnny Drazan and Will Costa were clutch for the Cougars, recording big kills again and again. Jesse Becker notched eight aces, and Kyle Amoroso had two in the final set alone. Colin Jones clinched the match for QO with an impressive kill in the fifth set, giving the Cougars a 3-2 win.
The Poolesville game started off 25-12, then got hairy. QO squeaked out a 28-26 win, but a 25-23 loss in the third game gave Poolesville confidence. The Falcons swept to a 25-17 win in the fourth. A run of eight points from 14-13 to 14-20, added to 12 Cougar errors, made it an easy one for the Falcons. Costa determined the fifth and final game almost by himself with five huge blocks for points while Drazan added a block and altered his kill approach to include a set of dinks that won points after Poolesville started blocking his kills. The final game 16-14 score set off a celebration by a very lucky Cougar team.
The team was focused against Gaithersburg, coming out on top despite a slow start. Justin Yuenâs pinpoint passing helped set up many kills for Becker and Jones throughout the final two sets. QO continued this impressive teamwork, winning 3-1.
In her first year as boysâ tennis coach, Jana Matouskova fashioned a 7-1 division record. As of their last division game, QO stood in a three-way tie for the chance to move back to Division I next spring, depending on the results of Rockville and Magruder matches.
Against Paint Branch, they lost only a couple of sets in a 6-0 sweep. The entire match lasted less than an hour. The capper in the division came against Springbrook with a 5-2 win. Ace Alex Lee continued to win at number one singles, and depth has become the team hallmark.
Though Matouskova said that, with 24 players, time for individual instruction is thin, she has concentrated on strategic skills and the results are piling up. After a rough start, they notched six wins in a row, the most recent against Einstein, 6-1. The squad is challenging in every match, led by what Matouskova calls âthe most remarkable improvement Iâve seen in 16 years of coaching,â the rise to the middle of the team by third team doubles player and junior Thomas Hohman. Starting as a raw beginner, ranked 24 out of 24, he has become a stalwart ranked at #13. The team contains only two seniors.