Washington forward Misael Martinez wouldn't wish his senior season on anyone, even his worst enemy. That is, he wouldn't wish the injury part on anyone.
What Martinez has done before and after his injury during his senior season is the kind of season that most high school soccer players would take in a second.
Despite sitting out eight games, Martinez scored 29 goals and leads Washington into today's Class 2A Lemont Sectional. The Patriots face host Lemont, which knocked the Patriots out of the sectional last season.
"According to last season, it didn't go so well," Martinez said of the loss to Lemont. "But I hope this season we can change and we can actually make it far and make it past Lemont because they are a pretty tough team. We were hoping to get Lemont and have a chance for a rematch."
Washington's exit from the 2010 postseason came in the form of a 2-0 loss, but Martinez says the game is nothing personal, just another win or go home game for the Patriots.
"It won't be like a grudge match or anything," Martinez said. "Every game that we play with every other school is like playing a final game. Now that it's sectionals, it's either win or go home. The better team will win and I hope it's us."
Washington will be forced to play without two senior defenders who are missing the game because of red cards received in the Patriots' regional championship victory over St. Rita. Washington coach Al Perez is confident his team will be just fine without some of their key senior leaders.
"They have lost a lot of seniors," Perez said of Lemont. "Whereas in my case I have most of them back with the only exception being that two of my defenders are going to have to sit out the game. We want to go into the game and play it cautious and play it safe. We're hopeful this time we'll get to the sectional final."
Much of Washington's success in the sectional will be based on Martinez's ability to score. In his first game back after his ankle injury, Perez gave Martinez one half to test the ankle and the senior celebrated his return by scoring two goals.
If Martinez and his Patriots teammates win today, it will be the continuation of a season that Martinez thought was finished weeks ago.
"Well it was pretty tough for me sitting out eight games," Martinez said. "I actually thought I was going to be out for the whole season. And having it be my senior year and having colleges have a chance to recruit me. It was tough. Nobody would want that to happen to them. And I hope it doesn't."