Kevin Sloan stormed into the Spirit record book last night.
The former Oakland Mills High star scored a club-record six goals and tied another mark with 11 points to lead the Spirit to a 20-13 victory over the Cleveland Crunch before 6,128 at the Baltimore Arena.
Sloan has three straight hat tricks, and seven for the season, and has 14 goals in the past four games. With 59 goals, he needs three more to match another club record, Paul Wright's single-season mark of 62 last season.
"Kevin's on fire," coach Dave MacWilliams said. "He has really picked us up."
By winning two games during its three-games-in-three-nights stretch, the Spirit clinched a playoff spot in the National Professional Soccer League's American Division. After beating the Buffalo Blizzard on Friday and splitting home-and-home games with Cleveland the past two nights, the Spirit is 1 1/2 games behind the division-leading Crunch.
"We were all upset after losing in Cleveland Saturday night," DTC Sloan said. "We knew we had to put forth the effort, even though we didn't have much energy after three in three nights."
Playing without Hector Marinaro, the NPSL's scoring leader, Cleveland relied more on Zoran Karic, the other half of the team's one-two punch. Karic delivered 11 points on four goals and three assists.
The Spirit came from two points behind and broke open a close game in the third quarter, scoring five unanswered goals -- three by Sloan -- for a 15-9. edge. Cleveland never got closer than four points thereafter, and the Spirit ran off the final three goals. Spirit goalie Cris Vaccaro had a strong game, with 18 saves.
The previous record of five goals in a game was shared by Jon Parry, Goran Hunjak, Doug Neely, Wright and Sloan. He got the record-breaker on the game's final goal, with an assist from Parry with 1:20 left. Sloan's 11 points tied the record held by Parry and Hunjak.
After Oscar Draguicevich jolted the Spirit with a three-point goal 38 seconds into the game, Franklin McIntosh came back with a two-pointer. That stretched his string of games with at least one point to 20, tying Wright's club record.
Marinaro, who has a league-leading 193 points, pulled a groin muscle in the NPSL All-Star game eight days ago and missed Saturday's win over the Spirit in Cleveland. He is expected to be out another week.
"You can't take somebody like that out of the lineup and expect to be the same," Cleveland coach Gary Hindley said. "We're also without [Tommy] Tanner [sprained foot]. That's two forwards out. Two of our top five scorers."
MacWilliams, noting that Cleveland won Saturday night without Marinaro, said, "This happens all the time -- others work harder because the stars aren't there and often make up for it."
NOTES: The Spirit's Mike Stankovic missed the game with a sprained ankle. . . . Tim Wittman returned after missing the All-Star Game and the two previous regular-season games with a pulled calf muscle. . . . Parry has scored the game-winner in each of the Spirit's past three victories to move into a tie for the NPSL lead with the St. Louis Ambush's Mark Moser with eight.