Gaels race out to a 3-0 first half lead on their way to a 4-2 victory
by Joe DiBlasi
As his team started the season 11-0 and appeared invincible at times, Archbishop Curley soccer coach Barry Stitz constantly preached of the depth and quality of soccer in the MIAA A Conference and warned that his team was just as vulnerable as any other team.
Unfortunately for Stitz and his Friars, his point was proved emphatically on Monday afternoon in Irvington, as top-ranked Curley not only lost for the first time in 2017, the Friars were routed, 4-2, by an inspired Mount St. Joseph squad.
Jordan Ehart, with a feed from Dmitri Jordan staked the 8th-ranked Gaels (8-4 overall, 7-3 MIAA A) to a quick 1-0 lead and freshman talent Tyquan Stroud, who is just starting to flash his much heralded ability, scored the first of his two goals in the contest, with three minutes left in the half to make it 2-0. The energized Gaels, who came into the contest on the heals of consecutive league losses to McDonogh and Archbishop Spalding, did not let up, getting one more score before intermission as Tyler Collins scored.
Junior Anthony Dragisics finally put Curley (11-1-1, 8-1) on the board in the ninth minute of the second half, but Stroud dashed any hope of the Friars building momentum for a comeback, with his second goal, just a few minutes later.
“He’s a great player and he stepped up in the absence of Jake (senior forward Jake Mazzei, who is out with an injury),” said St. Joe coach Mike St. Martin of his emerging freshman. “It was a great win. I’m very happy to be able to coach these guys.”
Ben Stitz scored a second goal for Curley, with 17 minutes left, but it was too little too late as the Gaels finished up a much needed win while proving the Friars can be stopped.
According to Stroud, the Gaels played with passion.
“We played a great game today, and it seemed like we wanted it more,” said Stroud. “When they came back, we answered. I got great passes today from my teammates and that’s what helped me score my goals. Curley is a very good team, and we are very happy to get the win.”
Barry Stitz echoed Stroud’s thoughts.
“We were just not sharp enough today and the better team won,” said Stitz. “When Mount Saint Joe got the early lead, they were able to sit back and counter all day, and it just seemed like they wanted it more.
“In my 18 years of coming over here, I don’t believe we ever gave up four goals in one game. Hats off to Mount Saint Joe, they earned it.”