Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference rivals Calvert Hall College and McDonogh School took turns stunning each other Friday afternoon at Paul Angelo Russo Stadium.
The fourth-ranked Eagles shocked the No.1 Cardinals’ previously perfect defense by rallying for a pair of goals by junior midfielders Jacob Sternberg and Aidan Welsh in a three-minute span late in regulation.
Just four minutes into the first overtime period, however, it was Calvert Hall that sent a bolt out of the blue when midfielder Ben Alexander ended the game on a 25-yard rocket on a sweet chip by senior classmate Chris Carroll to secure a 3-2 victory and touch off a wild celebration by the Cardinals and their fans.
With a little over 13 minutes remaining in the second half, the same duo had given Calvert Hall what appeared to be a commanding 2-0 advantage, although that’s not how the Eagles felt.
Facing defeat with so little time left in the match, McDonogh kept its composure and, more importantly, refused to back down against such a stout opponent.
“We showed good fight in the last eight minutes to equalize against a team that could have easily put us away,” McDonogh coach Brandon Quaranta said. “I was really happy with that. Unfortunately, we never came out in the overtime period, and once again we went back to the things that got us in trouble in the first half. And obviously, their very good forward, Ben Alexander, made us pay for it with a good finish at the end.”
Calvert Hall squandered a couple of chances when Alexander and Carroll failed to connect on an open look at McDonogh senior keeper William Little in the opening minutes of the match.
The Cardinals’ first goal came just after junior defender Nick Benjamin broke up a potential Eagle fast break opportunity in his defensive third with surprising closing speed.
Moments later, Calvert Hall junior forward James Rosa converted senior forward Brady O’Connor feed on a heavy 20-yard shot that tricked through Young’s hands and into the net in the 19th minute for a 1-0 advantage.
In the second half, Calvert Hall pressed forward more than it did in the first 40 minutes. Even so, the youngsters held up well, especially McDonogh (2-2, 1-2 MIAA A) freshman Matthew Ownsu, who took on an Alexander in the 47th minute on a one-on-one and prevailed by knocking the ball away from the University of Kentucky-bound star to keep the score close.
It was in the late going, though, that the visitors really started to shine while becoming the first team this season to solve the Cardinals’ stout defense and senior keeper Kyle Cooper.
“They kept coming at us,” Calvert Hall coach Rich Zinkland said. “I think we got a little tired, but I like the way we regrouped in overtime. Chris played that ball perfectly too Ben for a one-touch and a finish. Those two have a nice connection.”