One June 10, both the baseball and boys soccer team suffered defeats at Lake Braddock High School in the state semifinals.
Baseball lost a close 3-2 game to Mountain View High School.
Godwin’s ace pitcher, Princeton commit senior Conor Nolan, started the game for the Eagles and pitched three and two-thirds shutout innings. He was removed due to pitch count, after navigating a couple bases-loaded jams.
Junior Harrison Moncure entered the game, but gave up two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Godwin battled back for two runs of their own in the top of the sixth inning, before giving up what proved to be the game-winning run in the bottom of the inning.
They had one more inning to attempt to tie the game, but they were unable to score in the top of the seventh, thus ending their season.
“We battled all game and some breaks just did not fall our way. It was a tough one to swallow, because we were right there with them for all seven innings. Still, I could not be prouder of all that we’ve accomplished this year,” said Nolan.
Godwin started this season looking to improve upon the previous year in which they lost in the Conference semifinals to Deep Run High School.
They struggled at the beginning of the year, including a shocking loss to J.R. Tucker at home.
However, after spring break the team went on a huge winning streak, including two wins over rival Deep Run and two wins over powerhouse Glen Allen High School.
The team had consistent production at the plate and a solid defense to back up the pitchers such as Nolan and Moncure along with sophomore Alex Leverty and freshman Sam Landess.
Senior infielder Cal O’Donnell said, “After our loss to Tucker, our coach had scheduled a trip over spring break to Virginia Beach. We played teams from that area, and I truly believe this helped turn around our season. We all began to bond and get a good chemistry between each other. As soon as we got back from the trip, we finally hit our stride and played to our full potential.”
Despite failing to qualify for regionals last year, the Eagles reached the state tournament this year.
After receiving a bye as the one seed in the tournament, they defeated Lee-Davis High School 4-3 in the Conference semifinals in order to ensure their place in the region tournament. They lost to Glen Allen in the Conference championship.
They bounced back and defeated Prince George High School and Glen Allen in quick succession.
However, the boys lost to Nansemond River in the Region championship, setting up the state semifinal with Mountain View.
Despite losing in the state semifinal, this year was a breakout season for the Godwin baseball program.
Senior infielder Jack Landess said, “We had high expectations for this year, but local polls did not select us as one of the top few teams in the conference which gave us motivation to succeed and prove them wrong. This team simply won baseball games any way we could. We fought and scrapped and had some gutsy wins thanks to clutch hitting and phenomenal defense and pitching. Going on the run all the way to states in a way put Godwin back on the map.”
This season lays the groundwork for future success for Godwin baseball.
Baseball coach John Fletcher said, “This season’s success creates a foundation for our younger players to follow on. Godwin has always been known as a successful baseball program however it has been almost six years since we have played in the state tournament. Playing in states this year has generated a desire to maintain this goal.”
The team loses several seniors, including Nolan and O’Donnell. However, some of this year’s members will be returning alongside a strong group of Junior Varsity players.
“The expectations for next year are the same as this and previous years: to work hard and be successful. The future is very bright as we have 12 returners from this varsity season as well as a successful Junior Varsity team that only lost three games,” said Fletcher.
Boys soccer lost 5-1 to Falls Church, despite managing to hold the score at 2-1 before the last ten minutes of the match. The match ended in the 77th minute due to an altercation between the two teams.
Godwin trailed 1-0 at halftime and fell behind 2-0 early in the second half before sophomore Ben Lynch scored a goal.
The Eagles were unable to equalize and instead gave up three goals in the late stages of the match.
Senior midfielder Ben Ahrens said, “We played hard against a team that broke us down tactically. We could not adjust to their quickness and direct style of play. Obviously, the season did not end the way we would have liked, but we have a lot to be proud of. It’s been an honor and a privilege to play with Godwin across my chest over the past two years.”
Last year’s boys soccer team won the state championship and this year’s squad was seeking a repeat.
They faced adversity during the regular season, including their losses against Deep Run and James River High School prior to the postseason.
Senior defender Will Martin said, “After the James River match, things turned around. While we were not able to overcome the two-goal deficit in that match, the second half was a turning point in our season. We went into the State tournament on a ten match winning streak.”
The team was able to enter the playoffs on a winning streak and this success continued during the Conference and Region tournaments.
They received a bye in the Conference tournament and qualified for regionals by shutting out Glen Allen 3-0.
They claimed the Conference championship by winning a back and forth battle against Douglas Freeman, 3-2. Godwin trailed 1-0 and 2-1, before taking the lead for the first time late in the second half.
They won 2-0 over L.C Bird High School before winning their fourth match of the year against Freeman, 1-0 to advance to the State tournament.
They earned their second title of the postseason by defeating Hickory High School 1-0 in the Region championship on a late, long distance strike by junior Holden Fisher.
The team fell short of earning all three postseason championships and repeating as state champions, however they still enjoyed a successful season.
“It was an amazing feeling to win conference, regionals, and return to states this year. For me, the biggest achievement was winning regionals, because even though we won states last year, we fell short in regionals, and it meant a lot to win it this year,” said Fisher.
A second consecutive trip to the state tournament cements Godwin’s status as a local soccer powerhouse, and they hope to continue their success in the future.
Boys soccer coach Skip Stevens said, “This year’s team was a great group of young men to work with. Through their hard work and dedication to the program, they have laid a very solid foundation for future soccer teams at Godwin to build upon.”
The team will lose several key seniors, however they retain talented players, including: Lynch, Fisher, sophomore Daniel Ahrens, and freshman Jin Kim.
“We have several returning players who have a lot of experience and are already looking forward to next season. We hope to continue the level of excellence that this year’s senior class established!” said Stevens.