Sometimes it pays to know nothing about an opposing team. Just ask Meade boys head soccer coach Dean Harrison.
Harrison's Mustangs gave visiting 3A opponent Calvert High something to think about on the long journey back home to Calvert County, as they trounced the Cavaliers, 9-1, in a non-league matchup Friday.
"I didn't know what to expect out of Calvert. I knew that they beat Southern, but other than that, I didn't have any idea about how good they'd be," said Harrison.
Rodney DeConti, J.J. Grewe, and David Nichols scored two goals apiece, as Meade reached the .500 mark for the first time this season (2-2 overall, 0-1 in 4A league).
DeConti started the scoring parade for the hosts at the game's 10-minute mark, pounding a 20-yard line drive that deflected off of the right post and into the left corner past Calvert's substitute goalkeeper Aaron Chase.
The senior co-captain notched his second goal of the afternoon 4 minutes and 10 seconds after fellow co-captain Nichols scored off a pass from junior striker Rodney Rawlinson at the 33:44 mark of the first half. The Mustangs enjoyed a 3-0 cushion at the end of the half.
"I was very pleased with the way we played offensively. That is where we were hurting last year. We've been working hard to get better. Defensively, I think we had some breakdowns, but with Bryan Mitchell out (injured foot suffered in last Tuesday's win over High Point) it was to be expected," said Harrison.
Calvert head coach Gil Zalc was not at a loss for words over his team's performance.
"To put it bluntly, we stank," said the 17-year coaching veteran. "We couldn't hit a black hole if we tried a thousand times. Granted, we have some injuries, and our goalkeeper (Jimmy Norris) missed the team bus, but there was no excuse for the way we played out there.
"I think we were relying on our center halfback (Chris Nickerson, out with an injury) too much during our first two ballgames, and today showed that you just can't rely on one man to do everything."
Things got even worse for the Cavaliers (1-2, members of the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference) in the second half. After Grewe's left-footed goal in the second half's opening stages, striker-turned-stopper Larry Sancomb headed a DeConti crossing pass into the goal at 52:05.
Thirty-two seconds later, DeConti tallied his second assist of the afternoon as striker Rodney Rawlinson drilled a shot past a diving Norris, putting the Mustangs on top, 6-0.
"I don't think we intentionally ran up the score on them. I just let my guys play. We only have 17 healthy players, so I had to leave some starters in. The last thing I want to do is tell them not to play hard," said Harrison.
The fourth-year coach was impressed with the play of two of his subs, midfielders Jason Hall and Matt Brown, who suffered a leg injury while assisting on Nichols' second goal.
Chris Baker put Calvert on the board with less than 20 minutes remaining, outrunning the Meade defense and putting a left-footed shot by substitute goalie John Wainright at the 60:30 mark.
Grewe, Nichols and second-string midfielder Jason Hall finished the scoring for Meade.
"There's no doubt about it, Meade is a good ballclub, but I think we made them look even better," said Zalc. "They did everything right. We did everything wrong. There was absolutely no excuse for the way we played. We'll just have to start over from scratch."