Bloody But Victorious, Boys Soccer Dominates Key

“He looked super cool,” said senior midfielder Ben Kondner. “He had blood running down his face and in his teeth. He looked like a Viking.”


JJ Porter

The boys varsity soccer game against Key was competitive from start to finish.

Friends vs. Key was a high-intensity, non-conference matchup for boys soccer. It took place on Monday, September 19th, at Friends School.

Boys Varsity had had one of their first home games of the season against Annapolis’s Francis Scott Key High School. So coming into this game on a 3-game losing streak, they were hungry for their second win of the season.

“We are ready to go out and execute,” junior Evan Lawner said, coming into the game.

The game was competitive from start to finish.

Through the first 10 minutes, it was a defensive battle. Stout plays from starting defenders Brayden Matthias and Ale D’Alessio kept the ball far from the goal.

Friends was able to keep possession of the ball and keep it on Key’s side of the field. Captains Nigel Tracy and Sam Butz kept pushing the ball down, attempting to take a lead. Key’s defense held up, though, defending well and clearing the ball far down the field. 

Finally, Friends was able to play a nice ball into the box, and draw an early foul to give Friends a penalty kick. After a quick thought, coach Tyler Wilhelm chose Evan Lawner to take the shot.

Free-kicks/penalties are one of Evan’s specialties, so he definitely had the advantage in this 1v1. He lined up and took the shot, depositing it into the bottom left corner of the net, out of reach of the goalkeeper. The score was 1-0 Friends.

The, the intensity of the game picked up. Key tried their hardest to answer back and tie the game. This resulted in a lot of offside plays, and passes that were intercepted by the Friends defense.

Eventually, Key got through, and away on a fast break. A Key player tried to shoot over Friends goalkeeper Jonah Zalis, but the ball went over the crossbar.

Then, in the 13th minute of the first half, Key scored, to tie the game 1-1. Friends players knew they would have to make an aggressive push to regain the lead. 

So Friends came back with a fast break of their own. They were able to draw a foul in the box for a second time in the first half. They decided to stick with the hot hand, and Evan Lawner was once again called upon for the penalty kick. This time, he went the other way, scoring the shot in the bottom right corner and giving the Quakes a 2-1 lead. 

Friends then began playing much slower, trying to stall for halftime.

Before the half, Key was able to get into our box and draw a foul, resulting in a penalty kick of their own. But our goalkeeper, Jonah, was able to read the shot and save it, maintaining Friends’ lead into the half.

“The game is going pretty good. They are ahead. They’re playing aggressively and there’s more use of the head,” said Friends fan Susan DeRosa. Also Brayden Mathias’ grandmother, she had been watching since kickoff.

“In the second half, the Quakes need to improve their footwork and hold onto the ball more,” Ms. DeRosa suggested.

When the second half kicked off, the energy seemed to be even between the Friends and Key teams. On the first possession of the second half, Key played a ball into the box that was kicked out of bounds.

While running after the ball, Quakes defender Joey Supik collided with goalie Jonah Zalis. Both went down and had to leave the game.

Jonah, the senior goalie, sprained his ACL on the play and had to leave the game on crutches. Joey did not suffer any serious injuries. But his exit was still dramatic.

“He looked super cool,” said senior midfielder Ben Kondner about the defender. “He had blood running down his face and in his teeth. He looked like a Viking,” 

With Jonah out, Max Palmer suited up to take his place in goal. Max is a former midfield player, so no one is used to seeing him in goal. But with Ale unable to play goalie due to injury, and now playing defense, Max was the next one up.

Fifteen minutes into the second half, Sam Butz scored, making the score 3-1. The Quakes then had a good lead, and just had to defend well. 

Many saves and good decisions from Max in the Friends goal protected and held the lead. In the end, Friends was able to finish the game 3-1.