Sidwell Friends forward Nick Jackson lined up for his fourth penalty kick of the young season Tuesday against Maret, the score tied 1-1 late in the second half. Jackson delivered goals on each of the three previous kicks this season, getting progressively “less stressed out on each one,” he said. But this was arguably the most important opportunity with his team struggling to put the Frogs away.
And Jackson, a Weslyan recruit, treated it as such. He waited patiently after the whistle gave him the go-ahead, looking for a hitch in the goalkeeper. He stuttered to the ball, and finally found it. The goalie was leaning left, “so I put it to his right,” he said.
It was Jackson’s seventh goal of the year, fifth in the last four games, and the No. 10 Quakers (5-2, 4-0) are now sitting in first place atop the MAC.
Jackson has now delivered three decisive penalty kick goals in wins this season (he scored with his team trailing 3-2 against Wilson in the season opener and 2-1 against Flint Hill earlier this month). Sidwell Friends has been tested early, with losses coming to No. 3 St. Albans and No. 5 Landon during nonconference play, which Jackson said gave the team the litmus tests it needed. The Quakers trained and played all of its preseason games on a turf football field, Jackson said, which caused an adjustment period to larger, regulation size grass fields early this season. The losses to two IAC powerhouses were part of that adjustment, but so is an emerging midfield led by Jackson and bolstered by seniors Max Graham and Marc Geschwind, the latter two who played for the Baltimore Bays academy club last year.
Jackson and Graham are defensive midfielders, but are also the top two scorers on the team. The offensive production (21 goals in seven matches) can get better, said Jackson, adding that his team must keep the approach simple when pushing the ball upfield. Calming himself has worked during penalty kicks this season, and again poise will be essential in the next match, when the Quakers visit Georgetown Day (2-1-4) for homecoming on Saturday.
“That’s going to be a brutal game. Their field is tiny, I mean they’re going to have fans screaming. They don’t have a football team, so they’re going to be coming out crazy for us,” Jackson said. “We’ve struggled in the first half of a lot of these games, but we work hard, and we end up wanting it more than the other team.”
Marriotts Ridge scored three goals in less than six minutes late in the second half to rally past Reservoir, 3-2, Tuesday. . . . Walter Johnson’s Thomas Stavrou scored on a deflected cross about 15 minutes into the second half to lift the Wildcats to a 1-0 win over Wootton, following up the Wildcats’ 1-0 victory over Gonzaga. . . . Graham Guidry (11 goals) scored two goals to lift St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes to a 3-1 win over Georgetown Prep.
1. Marriotts Ridge (7-0) LW: 1
2. Reservoir (4-1-1) LW: 3
3. St. Albans (6-1) LW 4
4. Walter Johnson (4-0-1) LW: 6
5. Landon (6-0) LW: 7
6. Gonzaga (3-3-1) LW: 2
7. Severna Park (6-0-2) LW: 9
8. St. Stephen’s/St.Agnes (6-0-2) LW: NR
9. Sidwell Friends (5-2) LW: NR
10. DeMatha (3-4) LW: 5