Friars to spoil Concordia’s MIAA A debut with a road victory
by Gary Adornato
For much of the afternoon, Tuesday’s MIAA A Conference soccer opener between Archbishop Curley and host Concordia Prep was like a tug-of-war in a sauna, as the teams battled in relentless heat, with neither able to break through on the offensive end.
The Friars, however, scored on a beautiful set piece in the 65th minute to escape with a 1-0 victory over the Saints, who were making their debut in the MIAA A Conference.
Curley senior sweeper Ricky Schissler triggered the scoring sequence when he lofted a free kick, from 45 yards out, towards the left side of the box. Senior midfielder Nick Henderson headed the ball in front and fellow senior Aidan Diem finished with a well placed header under the cross bar.
“Everyone was far post, so I stayed near post,” said Diem in describing the score. “I was hoping the ball would go further and maybe get hit back across. Nick Henderson was able to get his head on it and it was just a free header from there.”
Neither team threatened in the first half although the Friars did generate five corner kicks to none for the Saints. Concordia, however, opened the second half with some urgency and had the better of the play for about 10 minutes.
A free kick by senior Alexander Xavier led to a shot for Ryan Calheira, but it was saved by Curley’s Michael Caulkins, who played the second half for the Friars. Later, a through ball led to breakaway counter for Calheira, but Caulkins was able to alter his angle just enough to force a shot into the side of the net.
A few minutes later the Saints forced a pair of corners, but were still left empty handed. From there, Curley slowly turned the momentum back in its favor and started creating chances of its own before finally breaking through.
“The important thing is we got a win against a pretty good team on the road,” said Curley coach Barry Stitz who began his 22nd year as the head coach at his alma mater. ‘We’ll take that.”
Stitz was pleased with his team’s effort on a day when it may not have played its best soccer.
“I told the guys I am really proud of the way we worked defensively,” said Stitz. “We didn’t give up a lot of chances, but the other side we didn’t create a lot. Concordia has got some good players, a couple of big forwards that are physical and run. I think we did a pretty good job limiting their chances.”
Although his team did not come away with a victory, Concordia coach Adauto Neto explained why it was still a big day for his program.
“We’re very excited that we are here in the A Conference,” said Neto. “This is a long term goal that we had. We wanted to play against the best competition. Here now, to be able to play against a great opponent, Curley, we held them to 0-0 until late in the game. I’m very proud of the guys.”
Pictured above: Archbishop Curley’s Trey Magnaye advances the ball near midfield, as Concordia’s Ryan Calheira (#10) pursues, in the Friars’ 1-0 season-opening win.
ARCHBISHOP CURLEY 1, CONCORDIA PREP 0
AC 0 1 — 1
CP 0 0 — 9
GOAL: AC-Aidan Diem.
ASSIST: AC-Nick Henderson.
SAVES: AC-Joe Yakim 1, Michael Caulkins 4: CP-Colton Drought 5.