Spalding downs Severn, improves to 3-0

Talent and experience can win a lot of games at the high school level, but stability at the coaching position is even more critical to a program’s prolonged success.

Pat Crawford plans to provide just that to Archbishop Spalding’s boys’ soccer team.

Alex Flores, Lucca Mazzola and Henry Hardart each had a goal and an assist, as the Cavaliers earned their third win in a row to start the season with a 4-2 victory over host Severn on Tuesday.

The Cavaliers (3-0), under second-year coach Crawford, were ready to play despite the game getting bumped back two hours due to the heat. Flores was particularly zoned in early, nearly scoring in the third minute before putting Spalding ahead off an assist from Mazzola in the 11th minute.

“Our motto here is ‘All In,’ and you see that in our results and our goals and assists,” Crawford said. “There is nobody that is the man here. We are all in this together and there has to be sacrifices to do that, from player 1 to player 23.”

Severn (1-2) was temporarily on its heels, relinquishing possession and surrendering several scoring chances to Spalding early. However, the Admirals evened things up just before the half. Colin McCarthy was kept onside by a deep Spalding defender and took a through pass from older brother Jack and scored to the far post in the 37th minute.

“The same thing happened over the weekend against Severna Park,” Severn coach Mike McCarthy said. “We went down 2-0 early and then came back in the second half. This was a strong Spalding team that we wanted to compete with whistle to whistle. They banged one in early and made us play catch up, but this team is extremely resilient.

Hardart put Spalding back up early in the second off a set piece. He headed home a cross from Flores. He almost did the same thing a minute later, sending another corner kick from Flores just wide.

“We could have defended a little tighter and we need to work on defending on set pieces a little more,” Mike McCarthy said.

With Spalding holding the advantage, Daniel Ashbeck made some competent saves in back. He finished with five stops while Severn’s Nick Subong made six saves. The Cavaliers got some breathing room when Hardart was taken down in the box in the 53rd minute. Andre Tenorio converted the penalty kick for a 3-1 lead. Five minutes later, another penalty was called, this time in Severn’s favor. Jack McCarthy converted and Severn was back within one. Ashbeck kept Severn at arms length with a couple late stops, including two on Nate Gauthier, Severn’s top scoring option.

“Nate was banged up a little bit today with a knee, but he gave us a solid 80 minutes,” Mike McCarthy said. “He is a prolific goal scorer and can also distribute and lay the ball off, and we need to figure out what process works for us offensively. We know Nate works for us, but he is going to marked heavily all season.”

With Severn pressing high for the equalizer, Mazzolla scored the security tally with 4 minutes, 28 seconds to play, off a feed from Hardart.

“We will work on shape and positioning and formations, but it has been crucial to come out here and get three wins under our belts,” Crawford said. “Especially today. They knew the pace was going to be quicker and, with our league schedule opening Thursday with Calvert Hall, I want them believing that they can do it.”

The head coach position has been fluid at Spalding the past several years. Crawford, who prepped at Old Mill and played at Salisbury and professionally, is the solution.

“All along, I have been trying to change the perception of what’s going on at Spalding,” Crawford said. “I am here for them, I care of them. I want to turn this thing around for them. We are slowly but surely getting there. They understand what it is going to take to get it done. We are hoping to get more results than last year, but understand that we have to take it one game at a time.”

Mike McCarthy is in a different position, having already established stability and success at Severn. He has a young squad this season, with four freshmen starting this game.

“These guys believe they can score goals and get back in any game,” Mike McCarthy said. “We will be very competitive this year. We have Jack and Colin and Nick Kidder and Nick Angelino in a completely new midfield and they will work together more and more. Colin is going to have to fill a critical role for us in midfield and I am excited about Baxter Wright at right back and Reece Taylor on the left. they are fantastic young players.”

Spalding (3-0) 1 3 — 4

Severn (1-2) 1 1 — 2

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