After a rare 0-2 start, Severna Park has picked it up and is playing according to Falcon tradition. That tradition includes seven trips to the state finals in the last 22 years under coach Don Gregg.
Last night the No. 14 Falcons, defending county co-champion with Chesapeake, blanked Arundel, 3-0, to remain tied for first in the South Division with South River. The Falcons (8-3 overall) and South River (9-2) are 8-2 in county league games while Arundel (5-6) is 5-5.
"I can't remember us ever starting out 0-2, and this team has been working hard to get better and become more cohesive," said Gregg who got goals last night from a senior, junior and freshman.
"This game is like basketball. You can't run with the Loyola Marymounts unless you have the speed. We don't and have to play smart, aggressive soccer, which we showed glimpses of tonight."
Senior forward and three-year starter Scott Vane scored the Falcons' first goal unassisted about 11 minutes into the first half. Vane, the Falcons' leading scorer with 10 goals and three assists, kicked a shot past Arundel goalie Greg Yenoli from only five yards out.
The Falcon lead grew to 2-0 with 16:33 remaining in the second half on a near 20-yard shot off the right foot of freshman Bernie Edwards. It was Edwards' first varsity goal and it went soaring from left to right over the head of Yenoli (six saves).
Freshman John King fed junior Rod Worthing with 12 seconds before the final whistle to close out the scoring.
"This is a kind of young team [nine seniors] that has started to come together, after the 0-2 start that put us in shock," said Vane.
"We're not a fast team and have to play our style to win, something we didn't do the first couple games [losses by 2-1 to No. 6 Calvert Hall and No. 2 Chesapeake]. We have to keep it a slower pace, use lots more passing and trapping, and keep it on the ground."
Vane, a co-captain with fellow senior back Eric Lenfest, pointed to the team's youthful midfield that came through for missing seniors, Dane Emery and Joey Laque. Emery was out with the flu and Laque was red-carded in the previous game.
Two freshmen in Edwards and Reid Shaklee, sophomore Pat Wren and junior Kenny Macko manned the midfield in highly effective fashion last night. The visiting Wildcats managed only four shots (Severna Park took 13) and goalie Evan Henry made just one save.
"We are young in midfield and we have a great stopper back in Jimmy Traylor, and they have become a very cohesive unit," said Vane.
Gregg and his veteran assistant Bob Planey, also praised the younger players, but cited the leadership of Vane and Lenfest as vital to the Falcons turnaround.
"Scott and Eric have both done super jobs in helping the younger kids and it has contributed to our coming together," said Gregg.
Arundel coach Nick Jauschnegg and his Wildcats, who have suffered four losses by a goal -- two in overtime, didn't have much to cheer about. Senior fullbacks Jimmy Woods and Dave Lima played solid games guarding Vane and Traylor, respectively, most of the second half.