Local Commentary, Sports

Team Earns Plenty of Accolades

FALLS CHURCH LITTLE League All Star Team, the Majors, began their pool play campaign in July, and will return to the field this Thurday in Alexandria. (Courtesy Photo: Erika Toman)

Last month the boys’ soccer team at Meridian High School won the VHSL Class 3 championship, defeating Charlottesville on a series of penalty kicks in Fredericksburg. It capped off a resounding success of a season, and a season that saw plenty of individuals earn recognition on their own.

Senior Alex Gardner was the biggest headliner, earning Player of the Year honors at the Northwestern District, Region 3B, and Class 3 State levels. He and goaltender Inigo Diz, also a senior, were named to the Washington Post All-MET first team, while Oliver Frandano (senior) and Felix Green (junior) made the second team and Charlie Russell (senior) was an honorable mention.

All five of those players were also named to the All-State first team, and were additionally joined by Tucker Albaugh (junior) and Fernando Herbas (senior), while Fletcher Saaty (sophomore) made the second team. Those same players, in addition to the five previously mentioned, were all on the All-Region first team too, as well as the All-District first team. Tai Bhalla and Jack Ettinger, two more seniors, also made the latter of those teams, while sophomore Ben Beloe and junior Nir Pathak made the second team at the All-District level. 

Additionally, head coach Nate Greiner was named the State and Region 3B Coach of the Year, leading his team to an 18-3-1 overall record while going 8-1-1 in Northwestern District play. The Mustangs were runners-up to Manassas Park in their division, but got hot at the right time and capitalized on opportunities during the postseason. After their state title game victory, the 12th championship in school history for boys’ soccer, they were ranked fourth in the Washington Post’s final top-10 rankings.