Photo by Colin MurphyMichael Zichelli attacked against the Mount Hebron defense during Severna Park's 17-1 win on March 28.
Falcons Start 4-0 To Open Title Defense
It’s still early, but the reigning 4A state champions look to be in midseason form.
One could hardly make any other assessment after the Severna Park boys lacrosse team demolished 2016 3A state finalist Mount Hebron 17-1 at Kinder Park on March 28, getting seven goals from senior Trevor Patschorke, hat tricks by Chase Cope and Cian Chung and scores from Jack Thomas, Dean Draughn, Josh Coffman, Michael Harmeyer and Cameron Bear to win in dominant fashion.
Three saves by Barrett Casto and five by Patrick Byrne complemented a punishing defensive performance as Severna Park moved to 3-0 on the season following prior wins over Hereford and Northeast.
The Falcons were even more dominant in a 21-0 win over Chesapeake four days later on March 31, when Patschorke, Thomas and Bobby Ruppert had hat tricks; Coffman, Steven Zichelli, Michael Zichelli and Grayson Gallagher each had two goals; and Chung, Bear, Draughn and Hans Hansen all found the net.
There was a lot to like in the Falcon’s win over the Vikings, and head coach Dave Earl said the defense was a highlight as Severna Park cycled starters and rotation players in and out, getting minutes for everyone.
“The biggest thing I liked was our defense,” said Earl. The defensive group of Cullen Joyce, Tyler Ward and Griffin Patrick and rotation players Matthew Alton and Trent Bellotte, among others, was stifling against the Vikings. “To give up one goal to Mount Hebron, I think that’s awesome. I think our guys are starting to play as a team defensively, we had great play from our goalies, we got some guys in the game, and our biggest thing is, it makes no difference who’s in there, our system’s the same, we play the same way.”
It didn’t hurt that Kyle Lowman lightened the defense’s load by winning seven faceoffs, including the first three of the game, as the Falcons rudely greeted their guests by taking the vast majority of possession and by racing out to an 8-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. The Falcons dodged, cut, passed and finished with the kind of offensive crispness one typically sees in May, not March. It was the second straight high-scoring output for the Falcons, who racked up 16 goals in a 16-9 win over the Eagles on March 24 prior to the 17 scores against the Vikings.
Patschorke said the offense might be improved over last year, when Severna Park executed incisively en route to a 17-2 season and a 4A state title. “It’s a little bit of a new offense for us, a faster pace with a lot more freedom, and we’re just executing it really well,” said Patschorke. “We practice it every day, and we’ve just gotten into a good flow even though it’s so early. Last year, it really took us a while to develop our offense, but I think it’s great that we’re starting the season strong.”
Thomas, the X attackman, said the players have a good sense for each other, and they’re enjoying the freedom within their offense. “It’s a lot of fun,” said Thomas. “Coach lets us go to the goal right away the first 10, 15 seconds of the possession, kind of like a quick-strike offense. Then, we go into our set, run the play, get it through once or twice, and then go into freelance dodging. Our set is clicking right now. We work on it a lot in practice with offensive review. So, yeah, we’re clicking.”
He echoed Earl’s mentality of a process-oriented approach, and not getting too hyped up by a gaudy scoreboard. “Whoever’s in, we’re doing the same thing,” said Thomas. “We stick to our principles. We don’t like to pay attention to the score. We just like get better throughout the game, and take it as an opportunity.”
Earl said the win over Hereford up in northern Baltimore County was a good opportunity for the Falcons.
“To go up there, on the road and only give up six to them is solid. They’re a very good defensive team,” said Earl. “We’re more run-and-gun, and they kind of took us out of that game and played a more slowed-down game, content to pack it in and play. That was a great win for us but also a little bit of a wake-up call that things are not always going to go our way. It was nice that we came out of it with a victory.”
He pumped the brakes on the suggestion that his team was already in peak form but nonetheless expressed confidence they can continue to play well.
“We’ve taken it one practice at a time and one game at a time,” he said. “We try to keep our practices upbeat and intense, because we feel like if we practice that way, we’re going to play that way. We feel like we have some athletes, and we can run up and down the field, so we do that in practice, and it’s starting to click a little bit here for us. Offensively, I think they’re playing at a really high level, and the challenge is going to be to keep it up moving forward.”