Friars get the big win they have been hunting: MIAA A Conference roundup
by Joe DiBlasi
No. 9 Archbishop Curley topped No. 2 McDonogh, 2-1, on Wednesday afternoon in MIAA A Conference soccer action in East Baltimore.
The Friars (9-7, 8-6 MIAA), who have played four more league games than the Eagles (7-2-1 overall & MIAA A), have moved ahead of McDonogh, at least temporarily, in the conference standings, 24 points to 22, and into third place.
Although the win kept alive Curley’s long-shot hopes of claiming a top two seed and first round bye for the playoffs, it did go a long way towards helping them place at least fourth, which would provide a home game in the quarterfinal round.
The greater value, according to Curley coach Barry Stitz, was the confidence that his team can compete with and beat any team in the conference.
“This is a good win for us, because we haven’t been able to get that big win over a team that is ahead of us in the standings,” said Stitz. “We played hard all day, and we didn’t let them tie it up near the end, which has been an issue for us this season.”
Earlier this year, Curley blew a late lead to McDonogh as well as No. 1 Loyola, losing both games in overtime.
Wednesday, the Friars took a 1-0 lead midway through the first half when Bryce Woodward split two defenders after Jalen Anderson got the ball to him on a cross.
The Eagles tied it up 1-1, at 26:01 in the second half, when Sean Nolan scored off a nifty feed from Richie Nichols, but the Friars answered just 40 seconds later to regain the lead.
It was Anthony Dragisics who made it 2-1as Anderson picked up his second assist.
“I found myself at the middle of the back post when I saw the ball go from Kenny (Clapp) to Dylan (Sloan), to Jalen,” said Dragisics. “I called for it when I saw it at Jalen’s feet, and I was able to tap it in.”
The senior midfielder who has been Curley’s top scorer this fall recognize the importance of the quick response.
“Getting that quick goal to respond to their
goal was huge,” added Dragisics. “It allowed us to keep our momentum and build our confidence. We’ve been looking for this marque win all year, and now we believe that we can compete for the title.”
Curley keeper Mike Caulkins turned back the Eagles all day while recording 10 saves.
The Eagles made a push to tie the game with 25 seconds left in regulation, but Caulkins came up with his biggest save of the day.
“My backline supported me all day,” said Caulkins. “Kenny (Clapp) really stepped up on defense for us.”
“I’ve been working all season on guarding and defending one-on-one situations,” said Clapp. “I was able to cover my side of the field today on defense. Beating McDonogh is a big win for us. It gives us a chance to move up in the standings.”
Eagle coach Brandon Quaranta was gracious in defeat.
“I thought the first half was one of our best of the season even though we were down 1-0,” said Quaranta. “We got the equalizer in the second half, but then we gave up a goal just 40 seconds later, which you just can’t do if you’re going to win in this league.
“It’s tough to come here and get points. They made a couple more plays today than we did, and now we have to respond when we face Mount St. Joe on Friday.”
The Friars will look to get another big win on Saturday as host second-place and 7th-ranked Gilman (9-3-1, 28 points) on Saturday, for the Friars’ Homecoming.
NO. 9 ARCHBISHOP CURLEY 2, NO. 2 MCDONOGH 1
MCD 0 1 — 1
AC 1 1 — 2
GOALS: MCD_Nolan; AC-Woodward, Dragisics.
ASSISTS: MCD-Nichols; AC-Ander 2.
SAVES: MCD-Baskett 5; AC-Caulkins 10.
MOUNT ST. JOSEPH 2, NO. 10 CALVERT HALL 0
On the road at Calvert Hall, unranked Mount St. Joseph also pulled an upset, taking down the 10th-ranked Cardinals, 2-0.
The Gaels scored once in each half to get the job done.
On the first goal, Alex Crabbs passed the ball to top box where Zach Wheeling took a left-footed shot which found its way into the bottom right corner of the goal.
In the second half, sophomore Tyquan Stroud hit a volley from 20 yards. The shot was saved and deflected to post Riley Berze where put it away.
The Gaels (6-7-1 overall & MIAA) moved within two point of Calvert Hall (8-6, 7-6 MIAA A) in the conference standings. The pair are currently in fifth and sixth place, respectively, and both are going to the post-season.
NO. 1 LOYOLA 3, ST. PAUL’S 0
No. 1 Loyola stayed undefeated, on Thursday, with a 3-0 win over St.Pauls 3-0, at Blakefield.
Chase Llewellyn, Mattais De Jesus each scored in the first half and the Dons’ third goal came on a penalty kick by Matt, 10 minutes into the second half.
The Dons are now 12-0 in league play and 13-0 overall.
NO. 7 GILMAN 1, ARCHBISHOP SPALDING 0
No. 7 Gilman bounced back from Tuesday’s loss at Calvert Hall with 1-0 win over Archbishop Spalding.
The Greyhounds broke a scoreless tie by getting the game-winner with just over six minutes to play in the second half.