Keeping keeps the Cavs winning Boys soccer: Archbishop Spalding's 6-3 goalkeeper is credited by his coach as making a HTC team objective feasible this season.

September 11, 1997|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

On the soccer pitch, Archbishop Spalding senior goalkeeper Reb Beatty is an aggressive sort.

His sophomore year was washed out when he broke a leg playing club ball, and he missed the first half of his junior season with a fractured wrist.

It wasn't a coincidence that when Beatty got healthy last year, so did the Cavaliers -- winning seven of their last nine after a 3-6 start and reaching the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference semifinals, where they lost a tough 1-0 decision to Calvert Hall.

Translation: As Beatty goes, so go the Cavaliers.

"There's no worries when Reb's back there. We have all our confidence in him and aren't worried about anything that comes in the box," said senior midfielder Sean McMullen. "When you know there's someone of that caliber back there, the defense can become that much more aggressive, and so can the offense."

Who wouldn't want to play in front of a 6-3, 190-pound first-team All-County keeper who seriously considers the penalty area a second home?

"People coming into your goal box is like someone taking pie from your mother's kitchen," Beatty said. "You constantly have to be aggressive and jump out at the ball to control your box -- it's like your house."

The Cavaliers have come a long way in a short time under sixth-year coach Rick Carlson, and Beatty is a big reason.

"He brings a lot to the team, especially confidence. We have a lot of hard workers, and he's right there at the top of the list," said Carlson. "He has great athleticism and is one of the quickest players on our team. That helps him in close and makes it tough on anybody looking to score on him. They have to be very exact."

The Cavaliers are a talented group who have come up together and has worked hard to get through the rough times. They first got a taste of success as freshmen on the JV, paid their dues with a 1-16-1 sophomore season on varsity, and jumped to respectability with last year's late-season surge -- finishing with a 10-8 mark.

This year, with 12 seniors, the Cavaliers are off to a fast start. They're ranked eighth in the metro area at 3-0 -- including Saturday's 2-1 win over perennial power Severna Park. Yesterday, the Cavaliers edged Mount St. Joseph, 3-2; Beatty made eight saves.

"When we all came in as freshmen, we were really looking forward to this [senior] season. This is a close-knit group -- practically family," Beatty said. "We came in as the laughing stock of the county and are now one of the top-ranked teams in the area.

"You go to school, and people are saying 'well done' after the St. Mary's win and 'excellent job' against Severna Park. It's been really great."

Beatty, whose size, quickness and take-charge attitude makes him one of the metro area's most complete goalkeepers, knows a lot of work lies ahead for the Cavaliers if they're to reach the lofty goals they've set.

The MIAA A Conference championship tops the list.

"We feel the top teams, like Calvert Hall, McDonogh and Curley, now have to play their best to beat us. We need to maintain that," he said, hinting that a second chance against Calvert Hall in the conference final would be ideal.

Talking with Beatty, one gets the impression he may already have lived out that game in his mind over and over again. Soccer is on his front page.

After graduating, his top consideration is a college with an exchange program that would enable him to go to Europe. Italy would be his unquestioned first choice.

"The passion they have for the game is unrivaled," Beatty said of Italians. "Overall, Europe is incredible. But there's a saying in Italy that goes: 'Italians hate to die on Sundays because they'll miss a soccer match.'"

Right now, Beatty's focus is on doing whatever it takes -- anything from a pre-game speech, to a big save or plenty of talk on the field -- to help Spalding win more games.

McMullen said Beatty leaves little choice but success, adding: "With that behind us, we can't slack off -- he's not the smallest guy out there."

Pub Date: 9/11/97

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