When Severn junior Todd Fletcher scored off a loose ball in the second half of yesterday's game, Admirals coach Rick Lenfest smiled and said, "That was a junk goal."
But as he would later add, when a team like Severn has been held scoreless in three of its first four games, any goal looks good.
This one was a thing of beauty. It enabled the host Admirals to break a 1-1 tie and ignited a surge that carried them past Division I rival Mount St. Joe, 4-2, in a Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference game.
Lenfest says his team's offense hadn't been struggling, "We're just not putting the ball in the net. We've been outshooting everyone, but we've gone up against some great keepers and we've been unlucky."
Yesterday was a complete switch. Severn had three fewer shots on goal (10-7), and the Admirals scored twice after Gaels' starting keeper David Cleveland left the game with a hand injury in the final 15 minutes.
Senior wing Jim Dodson netted Severn's first and last goals; teammates Todd Fletcher and Chris Accinelli also converted. The Gaels' Steve Matcuk scored with 1 minute, 25 seconds left, but the damage already was done.
Fletcher laughed when he heard Lenfest's description of the go-ahead goal, which he maneuvered past Cleveland with a high leg lift from close range.
"Their defender waspushed all the way back. I used my body to block him from the ball and played it as it came through," he said.
"This is a real big win. We consider Mount St. Joe a real power in the MSA. All year, we've been considered not quite as good as the others. I think this will show teams we're for real."
Severn (2-2-1 overall, 1-1-1 in division) opened its season Sept. 11 with a 2-0 loss to county rival St. Mary's. The Admirals then rallied from two goals down to beat Archbishop Spalding, 3-2, but what followed were a 2-0 loss to John Carroll and a scoreless tie with Boys' Latin.
"After the first game, and afterwe were down, 2-0, to Spalding, our morale was low," said Fletcher, who assisted on Dodson's first goal. "But when we came back and won, we knew this was a good team."
The Admirals proved that against the Gaels after falling behind, 1-0, when senior Rich Pavlick scored off a Matcuk pass at 29:20 of the first half. But a Dodson header with 3:55 left in the opening half -- Severn's first shot of the game -- evened the score at 1-1.
"That gave us a big lift," Dodson said. "It showed we could play with them."
The Admirals controlled the ball for much of the second half. And when they didn't, freshman keeper Brian Zaks (eight saves) and an alert Severn defense enabled them to dodge any trouble.
Their third goal came after Cleveland's replacement, Tom Torrance, was whistled for handling the ball outside the box with just under 10 minutes left. Accinelli, a junior forward, quickly lined up for the direct kick and booted the ball past the retreating Gaels keeper.
"Their coach (Mike Dolan) told me before the gamethat they did that last week against Friends, and I guess we returned the favor," Lenfest said.
"We needed some luck to go our way. Wehad a couple garbage goals, but they still count."
Perhaps it wasmore than luck, however, that proved the difference yesterday.
"We out-hustled them. We wanted it more than them," Lenfest said.
Dodson said, "We haven't been in the right place at the right time thisyear, but we were today."