Nationally ranked Cardinals top Mount St. Joe in a strong opening test


by Joe DiBlasi

The Calvert Hall Cardinals, who enjoyed a great deal of national attention during the preseason, began to show what they hype is all about, Wednesday afternoon in Irvington, as the Cardinals opened their MIAA A Conference season with a 2-0 victory over host Mount St. Joseph.

Ryan Henneman (left) and Ben Madore each scored a goal as Calvert Hall defeated Mount St. Joseph, 2-0, in its 2021 season opener.

The Hall came in ranked 13th nationally and first in the state by prep soccer.net, and the Gaels were coming off an undefeated (9-0) 2020 Covid-19 shortened season. Coach Mike St. Martin’s Gaels finished last year ranked second in the nation by Top Drawer Soccer, behind St. Ignatius of Ohio.

The Cardinals broke the ice at the 27:32 mark in the first half when junior midfielder Ben Madore drilled a penalty kick to the back right corner of the net. Scoring first seemed to give the Cardinals a lift.

“I have a lot of confidence on my penalty kicks,” said Madore. “That first goal gave us momentum, and gave us the lead.”

Sophomore forward Ryan Henneman made it 2-0 with 8 minutes to go in the first half on an alert follow up kick, after St. Joe keeper Jason Kush came out to stop his initial shot on a feed from Ryan Belal.

“I made a run through the defense, and I saw that I was one on one with the goalie,” said Henneman. “I tried poking it past him but I didn’t make it. I saw the ball spinning back and I saw it kick my way. Their defenders didn’t see it, and I finished it.”

Calvert Hall’s junior keeper Nate Jones and the Cardinal defense kept the resilient Gaels off the board to register the shutout.

“We played very well throughout the whole game,” said Jones, who credited junior defender Ben Ramsey for helping pitch the shutout. “This is Ben’s first year on the Varsity after coming up from the JV, and he has really stepped up on defense.”

Hall coach Rich Zinkand was satisfied with the effort.

“Coming over here to play St. Joe is always difficult,” said Zinkand. ”I’m pleased with the way we played, We created a lot of opportunities, and we had good possession. The heat took its toll, but we continued working well together, and we played good one and two touch soccer across the pitch.”

Zinkand had kind words for the Gaels.

“Mike (St. Martin) always does a great job, and they had a tremendous team last year. They have lost a lot of players from that team, but I expect them to continue to compete and be there in the playoffs.”

St. Martin, a Calvert Hall alum, in turn, praised Zinkand.

“They are a very good team, and they came in here running high in all the pre-season pols. We fought all the way to the end and I’m proud of the boys. They continued to battle, all the way to the end. We needed to connect on more passes.”

CALVERT HALL 2, MOUNT ST. JOSEPH 0

CH 2 0 — 2
MSJ 0 0 — 0

GOALS: CH-Madore, Henneman.
SAVES: CH-Jones 3; MSJ-Kush 4, Holsey 2.