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  • Keaton Bathras and the Severna Park boys soccer team lead the region with an 8-0 record entering October.
    Photo by Colin Murphy
    Keaton Bathras and the Severna Park boys soccer team lead the region with an 8-0 record entering October.

Severna Park Boys Enter October Undefeated

Colin Murphy
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October 2, 2017

So far, so good in the Severna Park boys soccer team’s quest to get back to the state tournament.

The Falcons were the county’s frontrunner from the outset of the season, and they’ve proved as much and more in rolling into October with an 8-0 record. A combination of a stout defense and a well-rounded, high-powered offense has carried the Falcons over the season’s midway point without a blemish.

“It’s definitely big for us,” said senior midfielder Keaton Bathras of the team’s undefeated start, “but we’ve got to keep our heads up and not think we can come into these games easy. We have to have the same mentality and just play our game.”

A steady mentality has powered the Falcons to a handful of hard-earned victories in the always-tough county slate. After season-opening wins over Severn and Gonzaga, the team picked up wins over Northern and Arundel before notching a 3-1 victory over South River on September 19, when two goals by Nate Carey and one by Drew Belloff carried the day.

PHOTO GALLERY: Severna Park boys soccer vs. South River, 9.19.17

The team’s toughest test came on the road against a rejuvenated Meade program — the Mustangs have new stadium concourse and bleachers to go with the return of head coach Mike Banach, who led the team to the 4A state final in 2015 — but Severna Park was able to come away with a 2-1 victory in overtime. A second-half goal largely manufactured by Ryan Muldoon tied the game at 1-1 after Meade scored in the first half, and in the first overtime, Belloff raced onto a pass by Sam Kriel and finished low into the far post to end the game with a victory.

Meade (7-1) remains the second-best team in the county on record.

Throughout its win streak, Severna Park’s offense has produced, scoring 27 goals in eight games. Bathras had a hat trick and two assists in a 6-0 victory over Annapolis on September 27, when Carey, Belloff and Griffin Bathras also scored. Belloff had his second hat trick of the season in a 6-1 win over Arundel (he also had a hat trick in the team’s 4-1 win over Severn and has nine goals in eight games). In the win over the Wildcats, Keaton Bathras had two assists, and Griffin Bathras, Ian Musser and Charlie Kriel also scored. Muldoon, Musser, Sam Kriel and Mason Kelly have also gotten goals this season, extending the depth of a potent Falcon attack.

“We’re just trying to work as a unit, and it’s working pretty well,” said Keaton Bathras. “We’re not playing selfish, which is a big thing. We’re working the ball around quick, which is a huge key to the success of this team.”

At the other end of the field, the primary defensive group of Musser, Griffin Bathras, Kevin Kobosko, Max Murphy, Ryan Nelson, midfielders Evan Yeigh and Griffin O’Neill and goalkeeper Sam Farrell has been stout.

“We’ve been playing pretty well defensively,” said Farrell. “We’ve given up a few that we could’ve done better on, a few bad goals we need to fix. But we’ve been playing well defensively, a lot of players who have been playing together for awhile, me, Maxim, Kevin, Ian, Nelly, we’ve been playing together since pretty much in middle school, and it’s a lot of fun. We all want to win and we all work hard.”

Farrell acknowledged the team’s confidence but asserted respect for every opponent.

“We’re always pretty confident,” he said. “We always go into every game thinking if we play our game and play our style, we can win every game. We’re not cocky about it. We don’t come in thinking it’s going to be easy. There’s a lot of tough competition in this county — Meade, South River, Broadneck — everybody we play is going to be a good game, and we just need to come out ready for each game.”

The Falcons visit Broadneck on October 5.

PHOTO GALLERY: Severna Park boys soccer vs. South River, 9.19.17

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