At times on Tuesday night, when his Severna Park boys’ soccer team was picking apart Glen Burnie, 29-year-old Coach Ryan Parisi would turn his back on the game to start coaching his younger players on the bench.
Parisi speaks in hushed tones, and dressed in a grey hoodie and white baseball cap, he has the boyish look of many of his players. But they all looked attentively at him when he spoke, watching the coach wave his arms at situations that were arising during the game, telling them not to make the same mistakes in the future.
In Parisi’s first year as coach at Severna Park, there haven’t been many mistakes made — the No.8 Falcons are 9-0, and pitched their fifth shutout of the season Tuesday in a 5-0 win over Glen Burnie (2-5) — and after the game, he shook hands with a host of smiling fans, one of whom told him loud and clear he was doing a “great job” with the players. There was a feeling of relief in the comment, as if Severna Park’s program was in good hands, and his tendency to not forget his younger players on the bench is a strong indication that Parisi is here to stay.
“I think there is a good balance,” said Parisi, who served as an assistant for four years under former coach Roy Dunshee. “I think they know when it’s time to work.”
Light rains fell Tuesday evening on Severna Park’s turf, which increased the speed of the ball and the pace of the game. That fit into the Falcons’ playing style perfectly, as Severna Park scored four goals in a span of 10 minutes in the first half to put the game away.
All four goals were scored differently, from four different players. Senior Cole Strong made a nice cut inside the box and scored on a feed from Daniel Kwon to make it 1-0. A minute later, Kwon made a long throw in to Kyle Albach, who went top-shelf from 25-yards out. After a header by Logan Swartz off a corner kick made it 3-0, Severna Park finished its quick offensive assault when Kwon peeled off on a breakaway and fed Kevin Johnson, who netted a five-yard strike in the lower left corner. Glen Burnie didn’t put a shot on goal in the first half, and had just three the entire game.
“We have some really talented forwards, and coach always preaches defense first,” said senior Cole Strong, who had an assist against Glen Burnie. Parisi “is young. He’s got a lot of energy, and he’s easy to relate to.”
Severna Park, which lost to Bowie in the Maryland 4A semifinals last season, has five games remaining in the regular season. Running the table is on the mind of players like Strong and senior Tim Nelson – but not in the regular season. A postseason run would give them a chance to win a state title – and Parisi a chance to lay his own foundation at Severna Park.
“With a good team effort, every day and every game?” said Nelson,“I think we got a good chance.”
Gonzaga lost its first game of the season, to Delbarton (N.J.) last Saturday, 3-0. The Eagles rebounded the following day against Don Bosco Prep (N.J.), winning 4-0. ... Walter Johnson hosts Wootton on Friday. Wootton senior Matt Hoy scored his 15th goal of the season in a 3-0 win over Magruder last week. ... After tying Bullis 1-1 on Sept. 21, St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes has reeled off three consecutive wins, including back-to-back IAC victories over St. Albans and Landon. The Saints have two of the area’s top goal scorers in forwards Matt Guidry (11 goals) and Patrick Erickson (6).
(Records through Tuesday.)
1. DeMatha (6-0-1) Last week: 1
2. Gonzaga (8-1-1) LW: 2
3. Walter Johnson (6-0) LW: 3
4. Wootton (7-0) LW: 4
5. Paul VI Catholic (6-1) LW: 5
6. St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes (10-0-1) LW: 6
7. Marriotts Ridge (5-0) LW: 7
8. Severna Park (9-0) LW: 9
9. Centennial (7-0) LW: NR
10. Great Mills (6-0) LW: NR