One and Done-widdie: Monacan Boys Blow Out Top Seeded Generals

The Chiefs advanced to the Conference 20 championship and the Regional tournament for the second straight year in a dominant performance that’s sure to silence doubt

At this time last year, the Monacan Boys soccer team had just pulled off an upset of Hanover, and was headed to face Midlothian in the Conference finals. With two wins in two days over the lowly Powhatan Indians and then the Hawks, the Boys were fatigued and couldn’t slow senior Conner Rae of the Trojans, who pulled off a hat trick in a 3–0 Midlothian win.

This year, the Chiefs have drastically improved from 7–11–1 to 10–7 as the conference around them has largely gotten weaker. The Trojans, who knocked off Hanover in a 1–0 win and will face Monacan in a rematch of last year’s Conference Championship, are certainly beatable. After Rae, a 2016 All State selection, graduated last year, the Chiefs should be confident that they can hang with the Trojans.

After all, the Boys are peaking at the right time, and with three straight victories, they’re a team no one wants to face. Just ask the top seeded Dinwiddie Generals, whose season ended Wednesday night after a 12–4 campaign and the first #1 seed in their school’s history. Many will say that the Generals took advantage of a weaker schedule, and their poor performance in the Conference semifinals seemed to validate that claim.

From the kickoff, the Monacan Boys controlled the game.

Right from the beginning, the Chiefs came out as the more aggressive and focused team. They took the first several shots on goal, as Taron Dickson got several quality looks early on fast breaks. In the 4–1 opening round victory over Huguenot, Dickson tallied his second consecutive hat trick and his 18th goal as he shattered Monacan’s single season scoring record of 17 goals. Tonight, he added two more, which makes him the first player in the history of Monacan soccer to total 20 scores in a season.

Freshman standout Harrison Ivy drew first blood for the Chiefs with a shot from 20 feet out, which got Monacan out to a quick 1–0 lead. Soon enough, the underdogs were playing like the favorites, and Dinwiddie didn’t know how to respond.

Sloppy passing, turnovers, and simple mistakes by the Generals led to instant offense for Dickson and the Chiefs. While the Chiefs were the more aggressive team defensively, Dinwiddie beat themselves at times and repeatedly made easy plays look like difficult ones. In the biggest game of the year, they looked disoriented and out of sync, and the Chiefs capitalized, taking a 2–0 lead to the break.

Unlike their opponents, Monacan was a well-oiled machine, especially on defense, where they kept opposing shots on goal to a minimum. With a dynamic offensive threat like Dickson, the Chiefs could play more men on defense without losing offensive production. The speed of Dickson kept the Generals honest on defense, and with so much attention on Monacan’s leading scorer, Dinwiddie never got into a rhythm on offense.

Noah Carter was reliable in goal for the Chiefs once again, cleaning up all shots but one: a beautifully placed ball that deflected off the bottom of the crossbar and right to Dinwiddie, who took advantage of the good fortune and got on the board. He has risen to the moment in his first year as a starter and is a huge reason why the Chiefs have such postseason promise.

When the final whistle blew on Dinwiddie’s season, Ivy and Dickson each had a pair of goals, and the Chiefs were 4–1 victors. While the Generals played poorly for much of the game, that should take nothing away from the quality job the Chiefs did on both ends. This was a statement win from a young Monacan team; they’re ready for the bright lights of the postseason and they’re prepared for what’s ahead of them.

Somehow, this team has gotten younger, but is playing with much more focus and discipline than one season ago. They finally have a dynamic, multi-dimensional offense, what looks to be a shutdown keeper in goal, and a cohesive defensive unit to take the pressure off of him. Expectations should be tempered for an up-and-coming team with only three seniors in Dickson, midfielder Alex Betancourt, and defender Aaron Eiser, but so far, it looks like the Chiefs are ready to take the next step towards playoff success.

Of course, the same was said of last year’s squad that fell short following an emotional win in the Conference semis. Once again, they’ll face Midlothian, a rival that has dominated the Chiefs in head-to-head play in recent years. However, the Trojans look less scary this time around, and Monacan looks to be a formidable challenger for the Conference 20 throne. Even as a young team that’s trending upwards, the Boys should have their sights set on the Conference championship, not the Regional tournament, and this season, not the next one. The future may be bright, but Chiefs can’t let their success blind them. We’ll learn a lot about the Boys from their performance on Friday, where they’ll have to prove that they’re ready for the next step.

-James Faris