McDonogh’s Andrew Privett and Kieran Baskett are VSN’s Boys Soccer Players of the Year; Loyola’ Lee Tschantret is our Coach of the Year
by Gary Adornato
McDonogh’s boys soccer team rode a bit of a roller coaster late in the 2018 season, as it went from an undefeated top-ranked position into a late season swoon, threatening everything the Eagles had worked towards up to that point.
Thanks to the leadership of senior stars Andrew Privett and Kieran Baskett, however, the Eagles soared back to the top, knocking off a 19-0 Loyola Blakefield squad, on penalty kicks, in the MIAA A Conference championship. Privett and Baskett were the steady hands and unquestioned leaders of that bounce back and their outstanding work as earned them the honors of VSN’s 2018 Boys’ Soccer Offensive Player of the Year and VSN’s 2018 Defensive Player of the Year, respectively.
The coach on the other end of the MIAA A final was Loyola’s Lee Tschantret, one of the area’s most successful and decorated soccer coaches. His club did not allow a goal through the championship final, nor during two subsequent overtime periods, but the loss in the penalty kick round did deny his Dons the chance to bring home the title and complete a rare perfect season.
Regardless, Tschantret did a masterful job of molding his squad and putting them into position to complete an unbeaten and untied regular season. For this, we honor him as the 2018 VSN Boys Soccer Coach of the Year.
Here are their stories:
2018 VSN BOYS SOCCER
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Andrew Privett has seen a little bit of everything during his four years in Owings Mills, playing soccer for McDonogh School, a perennial local and national high school power.
During this time Privett has climbed the ladder, going from a talented but raw freshman trying to make his way to the role of team leader and star, all while helping the Eagles earn three MIAA A Conference championships. The hard work and perseverance has brought many accolades and honors, including recognition as the 2018 Varsity Sports Network Boys Soccer Offensive Player of the Year.
In 2018 Privett scored 16 goals and added 11 assists to bring his career totals to 29 goals and 24 assists. He was named an All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and FAB 50, as well as taking All-State and All-MIAA honors.
The 2018 season was not an easy one for the Eagles, who opened the year ranked No. 1 by VSN and went on to win their first seven games. Inexplicably, however, McDonogh fell into a tailspin that produced a 1-4-1 mark over their next six games, including a pair of losses to Loyola, which leaped to the top of the area polls. In the first loss to the Dons, the Eagles surrendered a tying goal in the final seconds of regulation before losing in overtime and then were flat out embarrassed in a 5-0 blowout in the rematch at Blakefield.
“The season started off really well,” said Privett. “I wouldn’t say we were playing our best soccer, but we were finding a way to get results and that paid off. In the second half of the season I didn’t think we were playing bad. I thought we were playing better than before, but it seemed like something was off. We weren’t getting the results we wanted. We lost a couple of heart-breakers and we started dropping games that were very winnable.
“That hurt the team dynamic a little bit. We had to pull together as a team, senior leaders, captains, and put the team back on track and make sure everyone was buying into the system. What really hurt was losing to Loyola, 5-0, at their place. That was a big wake up call. We needed to bounce back, win the last few games, get into the playoffs and get the No. 2 seed. We made a run from there, game by game.”
As devastating as the regular season losses were to Loyola in 2018, Privett revealed that the Eagles were more motivated by a McDonogh loss to Loyola that occurred in 2014, before any of the current players were even in high school.
That season McDonogh came into the MIAA A Conference championship game undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the nation, but were upended by a decidedly underdog Loyola squad, spoiling what would have been a perfect season for the Eagles. The opportunity to reverse that karma against the 2018 Dons and their own bid for a perfect season was too tempting for McDonogh to overlook.
“It was definitely the craziest game I played in my four years here,” Privett explained. “There is a history; it goes back about five years when McDonogh had the undefeated season, playing Loyola in the final, and it turned out that Loyola upset them, ruining their perfect season. I wasn’t even in high school at the time when I saw that game and now, being here in the same spot, where you are going up against Loyola who has that perfect season going with one game left, and you say why can’t we do it back to them. That was our motivation. That’s how we went into the game, with nothing to lose and let’s just play our hearts and see what happens.”
Although winning the game, and the championship, with a shootout added to the drama of the moment, Privett had the Eagles knocking on the door of victory in the closing minutes of regulation and overtime with several sensational efforts at scoring the game-winner.
“The last few minutes were winding down and I got a few chances,” he said. “I had one free kick that was just tipped over. I had a chance where I turned and hit one with my left; it hit the post. Then, a free kick that hit off the upper 90 cross bar, all within a couple minutes of each other. One after another, it was kind of heart-breaking inside.”
McDonogh coach Brandon Quaranta explained that all good things for the Eagles began with Privett.
“Andrew is the player that makes everything happen for the team on both sides of the ball,” said Quaranta. “He links our play offensively and is capable of scoring goals at anytime while defensively setting the tone with regaining possession for the group. He’s a consummate winner and has a knack for making the big play in the big moment. Andrew is a character kid and a wonderful teammate.”
With his high school career now complete, Privett reflected on his journey at McDonogh.
“The McDonogh program has just been an honor to be a part of. Coming in as a freshman it was definitely intimidating coming into such a great team, ranked No. 1 in the nation. I really think I learned a lot that year, being smaller, going up against bigger, older, stronger guys. That really pushed me to develop as a player and growing through the system, under Coach Q, learning so much on and off the field in my four years here really held me to a high standard. My senior year, with so much experience under my belt, that really took me to another level, to know how the program works and be a leader within this program.”
After what he described as a stressful recruiting process with lots of options, Privett has elected to continue is soccer career and education at Penn State University, where he will compete in the talent rich Big 10 Conference.
“I really just fell in love with Penn State while I was up there,” Privett said. “The coaching staff, the whole team environment, the facilities, it felt like just such a nice community – a real home, not too far away from home, but just a great place to be at Happy Valley.”
2018 VSN BOYS SOCCER
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
If a soccer player, especially a goalkeeper, could script the perfect way to end a season and a high school career, they would borrow from the storybook narrative authored by McDonogh’s Kieran Baskett.
After shutting out the area’s top-ranked soccer team through 100 minutes in the 2018 MIAA A Conference championship game, including a pair of pressure packed overtime periods, Baskett found all of the focus had shifted to him during a winner take all penalty kick shootout. After stopping two of the first eight attempts by Loyola’s top strikers, Baskett and his Eagles were in a 6-6 deadlock with the Dons in the shootout.
That’s when Baskett took matters into his own hands, and feet.
The 6-foot-2 Canadian transfer went from keeper to striker as he stepped out of the net to score the Eagles seventh PK and then returned to the cage to deny Loyola’s final attempt and deliver another championship for McDonogh.
“It could have been my friend Andrew Privett, the Offensive Player of the Year,” joked Baskett. “He hit the post three times, but luckily for me it didn’t come to that. I knew we were the better team in that game and I just knew we were going to do it. I really felt we had nothing to lose and I just felt confident going into the penalty kicks.”
And with Baskett in goal the Eagles always felt confident.
A native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Baskett was seeking an opportunity to improve his game and his college prospects when he came to the Baltimore area in the summer of 2017 to participate in a goalkeepers camp. That led to an introduction to McDonogh coach Brandon Quaranta and, eventually, to Baskett transferring to McDonogh.
The rest, as they say, is history. In 2018 Baskett produced eight shutouts and he had 18 during his two-year Eagle career, while averaging four saves per game. In addition to his VSN honor, he was named All-MIAA, All-State and 1st Team All-Metro. He also earned the coveted Division I scholarship to William & Mary.
“It was a coincidence that I found out about it (McDonogh) in the first place,” recalled Baskett. “I was down at a goalkeeper camp in the area and found out about it through coach Everett Brown. I started talking to Brandon Quaranta and I just knew it was the right place as soon as I set foot on campus. It has just gone from there and I knew it was the right place to go.”
Baskett acknowledged that it is difficult to live away from home and family, but said that his experience at McDonogh has been everything he hoped it would be.
“The people here have been so good to me,” he said. “It’s made the transition so easy.
“I’ve played in front of a great team these last two years and it certainly made my job a lot easier than it could have been. I’ve been so happy to be a part of the last two years and to win two championships.”
According to Quaranta, the felling was mutual.
“Kieran is a naturally gifted goalkeeper with great shot stopping ability and fantastic distribution skills,” said Quaranta. “He’s super confident and no moment is too big for him. His performance in the final is indicative of just what he’s capable for. The sky is the limit for Kieran.”
Of course, the road to glory required Baskett to navigate the Eagles late season along with his teammates.
“We went through a bad patch there near the end,” he said. “I honestly do not believe we were playing well at all until the last five games of the season, where we really kicked off and hit our full potential in the final. That lull was obviously a tough time which we bounced back from, but I really don’t think we were playing well up until that point. That kind of woke us up. We needed to work harder and it paid off.”
As far as his choice of William & Mary, Baskett said, “I just knew it was the perfect fit. I love the coaching staff there, the campus is beautiful and I met the guys on the team and I actually knew it was for me.”
2018 VSN BOYS SOCCER
COACH OF THE YEAR
In his 12 years as head soccer coach at Loyola Blakefield, Lee Tschantret has repeatedly led his Dons to the MIAA A Conference playoffs and a pair of league championships.
Perhaps his finest coaching season did not end with a championship in the fall of 2018, but the campaign which fell short of perfect 20-0 record only by virtue of championship game 0-0 (7-6 PK’s) loss to McDonogh in last November’s MIAA A final, has earned Tschantret recognition as the 2018 Varsity Sports Network Boys Soccer Coach of the Year.
“It was a fantastic season, but it was tough,” said Tschantret. “You go through an entire season and not lose a game and, technically, we did not lose that game, just kind of lost in penalty kicks.”
In the end, Tschantret felt the weight of making an undefeated run might of caught up with his squad.
“Toward the end of the season you could see we were getting a little bit tight,” he added. “I think you see that from groups in any sport when a team is undefeated. As much as we tried to keep them loose and keep them focused, it’s difficult. We were just a fraction off and McDonogh did a great job.”
A native of Albany, New York, Tschantret scored 50 goals and added 40 assists during an All-American career at his home town University of Albany. That led to a professional playing career that spanned 28 years, both outdoors and indoors, including eight seasons (2000-2007) with the Baltimore Blast. Near the end of his time with the Blast he became an assistant coach at Loyola in 2006 and took over as head of the Dons in 2007.
His Dons won MIAA titles in 2012 and 2014 and went a perfect 16-0 in the 2018 regular season and were 19-0 heading into the championship game.
One of the great joys of this season was that Tschantret shared it with his son Massimo Tschantret, who was senior captain and defender for the Dons.
“Massi is a good team player. Massi is a role player,” said Tschantret with pride. “He always understood his role and was a little more cerebral player than I was. He and Ben Gallagher worked real well together. He did really well. It’s not easy playing for your dad. I thought he handled that very well and it was a great experience for me to go through these last four years with him.”
Tschantret also spoke of the depth of talent on his roster and the desire of his players to sacrifice for the good of the team.
“I get asked all of the time, ‘who was your best player?, what was the success of this team?’ We had a number of guys who contributed to the success of this team. A really large senior class, but Ben Gallagher was, I think, a lynchpin and he did a great job at center-back. Then you have Chase Webbert who is going to Xavier. He’s a natural center-back but for the betterment of the team moved out and played right back for us and was tremendous out there.
“You go into the middle of the field and, the strength of his team was the middle of the field, you have Cole Hendricks and Matt Lala who were fantastic with their work rate and ability to switch positions. Then you have John Peterson who scored a ton of goals for us from the outside position. It goes on and on. We really just had a number of great players. We had a complete team.”
He summed his team’s unselfish play this way
“It was a bit of a counter-cultural group, where it was about group first. In today’s society, we have a lot of this YouTube, me-generation where its about the individual. This group was really about the group and its been that way for years. It’s been kind of the success of my program over the years.”