By Mike Cuthbert and Joey Fierstein
QO Lacrosse Still Undefeated
The Cougars are off to one of their best starts in school history and are slated for a huge matchup with the Wootton Patriots on May 9 to end the regular season.
The Cougars took care of Clarksburg by a score of 14-2. The defense was very stout for the Cougars, who gave up a season low two goals. Led by Stuart Nystrom, the defense shut down the Coyote attack and the Cougars jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. The attack was dynamic as usual, beating the Coyotes with crisp and quick passing, and accurate shooting on goal.
In the biggest matchup to date, the Cougars defeated the Wildcats of Walter Johnson by a score of 20-12. Sean Holliday had the game of his life, scoring nine goals and dishing out four assists, totaling 13 points on the evening. “I was open and my teammates found me, and when they were open they put it in the goal. Everything just clicked for us tonight,” said Holliday.
Eric Simon pitched in with six goals of his own, and Eli Tolstoi added four more. “We are on a roll right now, and we want to keep it up. Everyone is talking about us being one of the best team’s in the county, which is still kind of new around here,” said Tolstoi.
The Cougars cranked it up in the second half against Watkins Mill. Behind four goals by Holliday and two from Simon, plus the usual indomitable Michael Chiang, they dominated to stay undefeated.
Boys’ Volleyball Wins Division
The boys suffered their first defeat to the hands of the Springbrook Blue Devils by a score of 3-0. The team played very well in the losing effort, making many plays to stay in the game, but the Blue Devils athleticism proved to be too much for the Cougars to overcome.
Against Blake, the Cougars’ home court found the boys winning their toughest match of the season, 3-2, 15-11 in the fifth and deciding game.
Jamal Diggs again led the team but credited Blake. “They were really tough. They were consistent and kept the pressure on,” Diggs said.
The Cougars started slowly, losing the first game 21-25. Coach Karen Jones thought it might have been overconfidence that explained the sluggish beginning. “Very likely. We’ve had a lot of success and they thought it would be easy.”
The Cougars bounced back for a 25-16 win in game two, eked out a 26-24 win in game three, but sent the match to the max with a 19-25 loss in game 4. A key for QO in the fifth game was the return of Scotty Bramlett, who contributed a kill and three dinked placements plus some strong defense. Others outstanding through the match included Kyle Amoroso and Johnny Drazon.
The boys won the Montgomery County 3A West division with a 3-1 defeat over the Watkins Mill Wolverines. The hard-fought victory is the launching pad for a team that has done a complete turnaround in one year. Drazen had 16 kills, and Alex Parker had 8 kills to lead the way. Jesse Becker set up some great passes for the team, which led to some easy points.
Jones has the boys playing their best ball of the season before heading into the postseason. “Ms. Jones is a great teacher, she loves the game and she really knows what she is talking about,” said Drazen.
On the coed side, a relieved Coach Stacy Bureau said “Finally!” to the Cougar sweep of Blake. All of her players contributed, and Dakota Barton surprised with her aggressive net play and staunch defense. “She’s a freshman, and she’s hitting like that at a men’s height. Very impressive!” she said of Barton.
Cougar serving kept Blake back on their heels throughout the match and, despite some inconsistency, Colin Jones was strong at the net.
Boys Finish on Top in Cougar Relays
If being a good host means letting somebody else win, then the Cougar boys’ track team was a terrible host in this year’s Cougar Relays. Despite the cold, rainy day that even included hail, the Cougars edged second place Churchill by 1 point to take the boys’ team title.
Helping with the win were first place finishes by the 4×110 hurdles relay team and triple jump relay team of Elliott Davis and Malcolm Brown; high finishes by Drew Lehner and Conor Spalding (second and fourth in the mile), Eric Bishop (second) and Darius Lewis (fourth); and third place finishes by the distance medley and discus relay of Walter Gray and Rafael Antonio Bustos.
The Wootton girls’ team ran away with the title, and QO girls finished ninth in the annual event, held at the Cougar Dome.
Both boys’ and girls’ teams head into their April 26 meet leading the division.
Cougar Softball Seeks Wins
In an 11-1 defeat to the Seneca Valley Screamin’ Eagles, 11-1, the QO softball team was blitzed from the beginning, not being able to muster much offense and playing porous defense in the field. The game was forgettable for the ladies, who just couldn’t find a break in the field.
Their next game was like many heavyweight fights. The quick, young challenger gets in some early punches, but the power of the older, bigger fighter eventually prevails. The Cougars scratched out four early runs against last year’s 4A champion Sherwood Warriors, but stiff jabs by Sherwood tied the score by the end of the third inning.
Sherwood’s Sara Sabry had previewed what was to come with a long home run in the second that knocked in two runs. She ended up scoring three in the mercy rule-ended game, 14-4 for Sherwood. They broke it open in the fourth and finished off the game and the scoring in the bottom of the sixth with five runs.
Meanwhile, the Cougars were done after three, scoring no more. No Cougar had more than two hits, but freshman Megan Dougherty showed speed, courage and a strong arm at third base in the losing cause.
The Lady Cougars got back on track against Magruder, winning 12-2. Emily Wingate had four RBIs on a double and triple; Leah Dagen had four RBIs with a triple and two singles; Natalya Sizdahkhani had two RBIs; and Juliana Segura and Coffey had one RBI each. Grace Toohey led in percentage hitting, going three for four.
QO Baseball: Mostly Wins, Tough Losses
The team continued their winning ways, defeating Poolesville 8-1. Billy Plante hit a homerun and had three RBIs for the visiting Cougars, who had offensive production from just about every spot in the lineup. Daniel Fishback, Chad Martin, Chris Denino and Peter Bowles also chipped in with an RBI apiece.
Patrick Cole picked up the win, going a strong four innings fanning six and walking two. Fishback came in for a three-inning relief effort, striking out four.
Up next the boys took on a tough Rockville Rams squad, where they ground out a 7-2 win. Once again, the offensive production came from the entire lineup; three Cougars had extra base hits with six different people driving in a run. Andrew Rodgers pitched a complete game and earned the win, striking out three while walking one.
The boys ran away with their game against Wheaton, winning in convincing style, 16-1. Cole hit a home run and drove in two runs, while Plante had four RBIs. Jason Williams had two RBI, and Alex Lipman had one to round out the Cougar scoring. Chris Guerra, Austin Williams and Bo Hayward combined for a no-hitter for the team, the one run scored on an error. Guerra earned the win.
In the biggest matchup of the season, the Cougars tried to knock off the defending 4A champions, the Sherwood Warriors. The game was a pitchers’ duel throughout, with the teams combining for four hits total. Plante hit a homerun for the only hit of the game for the Cougars, which is impressive given that they were facing William Bouey, who will play at the University of Maryland next spring.
The game came down the bottom of the seventh when a controversial call resulted in the Cougars 2-1 defeat. Jason Williams thought he had caught a line drive and took four or five steps before tumbling to the ground. When Williams tried to stand up, the ball came out of his glove, but the umpire gave no signal. While the Cougars celebrated what they thought was a win, the Sherwood batter never stopped running and slid headfirst into home for the winning run.
“It’s tough to lose a game like that, because we did all we could, but a call like that is out of our control,” said Coach Jason Gasaway.
The road got tougher as the Cougars remained in a slump against Magruder. They got whacked, 8-3 in a game that was not that close. The QO bats were relatively silent for the second game in a row — their first run was scored without a hit — and the majority of their few hits came in the bottom of the seventh. The Cougars had more errors than hits in a depressing performance at home.
Tennis Fights for Win over RM
With three of four singles matches going to the Cougars and two of the three doubles matches, the Cougars registered a much-needed win over Richard Montgomery. All four singles matches went three sets with Shyam Lakshmanan going to a tiebreaker in the final set for the win.
The Cougars lost 5-2 to Northwest. Only the second and third doubles could notch wins.