Grace boys soc­cer on a roll in 2017 sea­son

Knights are 13-2 head­ing down the stretch

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­ Twit­ter: @aj­ma­son301

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.

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