Patapsco Boys Soccer in Midst of Five Game Win Streak
Patapsco's boys varsity soccer head coach Larry Fulton is quick to comment that his team's identity is very simple. To him, the Patriots' approach to the game reflects the blue collar community his players have been raised in.
"They play very hard, physical and disciplined," Fulton said. "They do not mind grinding out a result, and there's no quit in them."
It's early days in the 2016 season, but it appears the team's simple approach could easily lead to a memorable season for the Patriots.
After dropping its opening contest to Bel Air 3-0, the Patriots have reeled off five straight wins, leading to a 5-1 mark. Over those five games, Patapsco has outscored its opponents 17-4, and recorded three shutouts.
The team's marquee result is a dominant 5-1 win over Dulaney, the first victory Patapsco has recorded over the traditional Baltimore County powerhouse during Fulton's tenure as head coach. While Fulton had confidence his team could compete with Dulaney, he admits to being a little shocked by the scoreline.
"We told the boys that Dulaney had a very talented team and that we needed every player to be at their very best if we wanted a result against them. They responded well to our message that day," Fulton said. "The Dulaney result certainly lifted their spirits and raised their confidence as a team. I think it showed them that they're able to compete at a high level if they put in the work."
The team's success isn't unexpected considering the group's familiarity with each other. The Patriots return 10 players from last year's squad, including five starters. There's five players from last year's JV that have are in the team now, as well as a contingent of four freshman, two of which have been starting consistently.
The group is led by four seniors who make up the team's spine down the middle of the park. Fulton's son, also named Larry, plays a key role in the center of the midfield while the center back pairing of Caleb Hood and Adam Mullins make up the core of the defense. Goalkeeper Mike Nelson rounds out the group.
The team has also been reliant on junior Ishmael Torres, who currently leads the Patriots in goals scored.
"They seem to have a very nice sense of chemistry on the field and off the field as well," Fulton said. "Many of them have played with one another on recreation or club teams for years. This has helped us tremendously and seems to be our greatest strength."
Looking ahead, Patapsco faces Carver today before a tricky encounter this Friday with another traditional Baltimore County powerhouse, Catonsville.
Fulton is hopeful these tough regular season contests can have the Patriots prepared for a deeper run in the MPSSAA 3A state playoffs than they had last year. In 2015, Patapsco finished the year 11-3-2, but were knocked out in the second round by C. Milton Wright, which went on to reach the 3A state finals. After that disappointing end in 2015, the Patriots have made it their goal to do better once the postseason starts.
"The team is ready to progress further this year and hopefully we are able to achieve our goal," Fulton said.
|September 21st, 2016||By: Wick Eisenberg|