John Carroll tops Spalding to stay in the MIAA A Conference playoff chase

No. 1 Archbishop Curley and No. 2 McDonogh each came away with impressive wins on Wednesday in their battle for the top spot in the MIAA A Conference, while No. 7 Mount St. Joseph also won to keep its hopes alive for a top seed as the league moves towards the final four games of the season.

At Loyola, Curley got a pair of goals from senior Ben Stitz as it built a 2-0 halftime lead over the No. 8 Dons and went on to a 3-1 victory. Brandon Knapp also scored for the Friars (14-1-1, 11-1) and Chris Miracle had a pair of assists, while Kenny Clapp added an assist.

Dominic Caltabiano scored for Loyola (9-5-1, 6-5) with Alex Reide getting the assist.

McDonogh (14-2, 11-2) overpowered No. 12 Calvert Hall (8-7, 6-7), 5-0, getting single goals from Casey Settleman, Sean Nolan, Jake Steinberg, Mason Christian and Kyle Brown.

Curley and McDonogh, who will meet for the second time next week in Owings Mills, both have 11 wins are tied for first with 33 points. Curley did win the earlier meeting and has once less league loss.

St. Joe (10-4-1, 9-3-1) is five points back of the leaders after its 3-2 win at Gilman, making the Gaels the only team in the league close enough to potential take one of the top two seeds should the Friars or Eagles falter.

After falling behind early, St. Joe scored a pair of first half goals to take a 2-1 lead and eventually went up 3-1 before Gilman (6-8, 4-7) got its second score with just two minutes to play.

Alex Crabbs, Tyquan Stroud and Brett St. Martin scored for the Gaels.

Also on Wednesday, John Carroll (4-10, 4-9) defeated Archbishop Spalding, 2-1, in double-overtime, to keep itself in the playoff hunt.

Heading into Friday’s action, Calvert Hall and Loyola are each tied for fourth place with 18 points, while Gilman and John Carroll are tied for sixth-place, which represents the final playoff spot, with 12 points.