Grace boys soccer on a roll in 2017 season
Knights are 13-2 heading down the stretch
The regular season is winding down for the Grace Christian Academy boys soccer team. The Knights are right where they want to be, but there’s still some work left to do.
After an 8-0 win over Lanham Christian Academy of Prince George’s County in a Metro Independent Schools Athletic League contest on Oct. 2, Grace Christian matched last year’s win total with an 11-2 overall record.
Grace surpassed that mark as it traveled to La Plata for a league matchup with Southern Maryland Athletic Christian Academy (3-8, 3-6) on Oct. 3, defeating the Mustangs 6-0. Then the Knights (13-2, 11-1 MISAL) wrapped up the MISAL regular season championship on Oct. 6 with a 2-1 win over King’s Christian Academy from St. Mary’s County.
“I am very encouraged with the team’s success so far and I pray that we will use the momentum to reach our goals for this season,” Grace Christian head coach Dan Perotta said.
Through Friday, Grace was averaging over four goals a game and has allowed just 10 goals all season, shutting out seven of their opponents.
With an array of scorers on the field, the Knights have been anchored by senior forward Zach Wittlinger, who leads the team with 25 goals for the season with six games of three goals or more.
Wittlinger collected a hat trick in the win over the Lanham Christian, then added four more in the victory over Southern Maryland Christian.
Juniors Andre deGonzague and Brady Tippett have also spearheaded the team this season with eight and seven goals, respectively. Tippett has dished out eight assists on the season to lead the Knights.
Junior goalkeeper Noah Jones has been the anchor for the last line of defense, collecting 188 saves with seven shutouts on the season.
“I have been very pleased with our offense this season, and I am excited to see the strength of our defense,” Perotta saud. “But we still need to work hard to be fully prepared for the remainder of the season.
Throughout the season, Grace has had some challenges, splitting with conference foe Takoma Academy of Montgomer y County, winning the Sept. 5 meeting 2-0 at home and falling in the second meeting 2-1 on Sept. 27.
Takoma defeated Grace 3-2 in double overtime in last year’s MISAL championship game at Riverdale Baptist School in Upper Marlboro and is a team the Knights could meet again in a title rematch depending on how everything plays out during the playoffs.
Just a day after the Sept. 27 loss to Takoma, Grace’s other loss came in a 2-0 shutout at the hands of St. Mary’s Ryken of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference in Leonardtown.
“I love that our team plays a tough schedule and strong teams,” Perotta said. “I believe that it helps build our character as a team and helps prepare us for the end of the season tournaments.”
After traveling to Avalon of Montgomery County, Grace is scheduled to finish the regular season at Grace Brethren Christian-Clinton of Prince George’s County on Thursday. The MISAL playoffs are slated to be next week.
“Going into our games this week we need to work on making smarter passes, ball control and our communication as a team,” Perotta said. “All three are attainable goals that can be met with our strong team leadership.”
Grace Christian Academy senior forward Zach Wittlinger leads the boys soccer team with 25 goals on the season, the last four coming in a 6-0 win over Southern Maryland Christian on Oct. 3.
Grace Christian junior midfielder Brady Tippett has seven goals and eight assists to help spearhead the boys soccer team in 2017.