No. 7 Gaels edge No. 8 Dons, 1-0; MIAA round-up and playoff scenarios

St. Joe senior Ian Reger scored on a penalty kick as Mount St. Joe defeated Loyola, 1-0, to clinch no worse than third-place in the MIAA A Conference.

by Joe DiBlasi

It was a defensive battle in Irvington on Friday afternoon, in a MIAA A Conference soccer match between No. 7 Mount St. Joseph and No. 8 Loyola, and the host Gaels prevailed, 1-0, with the game’s only score coming on a penalty kick early in the second half.

St. Joe senior Ian Reger is the man who put the ball in the back of the net, after his teammate Casey McCanna was fouled in the box. McKenna had an opening and  was thundering toward the goal when he was grabbed by a Don, setting up the PK.

From there, the Gaels made Reger’s goal stand-up thanks to solid play from defenders Dmitri Jordan, Jordan Eharrt, and Brett St.Martin, and goalie Ashton Carey.

“Loyola is a good team, and we had to stay together on defense to stop them from scoring,” said senior Brett St. Martin. “Ashton did a great job in the goal.”

St. Joe coach Mike St. Martin praised his defense.

“We had a lot of continuity on defense, which featured the play of Dmitri, Jordan and Brett, and a steady contribution from keeper Ashton Carey.”

Reger praised McCanna for his work in creating the game-winning opportunity.

The Gaels (11-4-1 overall) improved to 10-3-1 in the league and have indeed clinched no worse than third-place in the conference standings. With two games left, Wednesday at Calvert Hall and next Friday at home against McDonogh, the Gaels do still have an opportunity to climb one higher as they trail second place McDonogh by just two points and first place Curley by five points. Most likely, the Gaels will need to win out and then get some help.

“Casey got in behind and it was a great effort. He won the penalty kick attempt and I was able to put it away,” said Reger. “It’s a big win for us; it assures us of at least third place in the league and a home field advantage in the playoffs.”

“Both teams battled all day with most of the action taking place in the middle of the field,” said Loyola coach Lee Tschantret. “It was a good game, and we are still in position to attain at least 4th place in the league.”

Coach St. Martin added, “We did a better job in the second half today, which was key to getting the win.

“With Jake Mazzei and Tyler Collins out with injuries, things were compounded when Diego Guerrero had to leave today’s game with a foot injury. A lot of guys stepped up after we were forced to make a few changes. Whether we win by 5 or 1, getting 3 points for a win in the MIAA  is always important.”

Loyola (9-6 overall) is now an even 6-6 in the conference, with four games left. Currently in fifth place, one point behind Calvert Hall, the Dons have four winnable games remaining, as they host St. Paul’s and travel to Archbishop Spalding next week, before closing with games with Gilman and John Carroll.

Elsewhere in the league on Friday, Calvert Hall (8-7, 6-7-1) and Gilman (6-8-1, 4-7-1) played to a 2-2 draw and No. 1 Curley defeated John Carroll (4-11-1, 4-10), 8-1. In addition, No. 2 McDonogh (15-2) defeated No. 13 Bel Air, 3-1, in a non-conference contest, as Casey Settleman scored all three Eagle goals.

Curley, which plays a non-conference game on Saturday against New Jersey’s St. Augustine Prep in a Philadelphia at Villanova University, will travel to McDonogh on Wednesday for a contest that should determined the top seed for the playoffs. The Friars also have league games remaining against Gilman and Calvert Hall. After the Curley game, McDonogh will close the regular season with trips to St. Joe and Spalding.

Gilman and John Carroll will battle for the final playoff spot over the last week of the season. Gilman currently holds a one point lead over the Patriots in that race and the Greyhounds of four games left, compared to just two for John Carroll. Gilman host Spalding on Wednesday, before closing its schedule with road games at Curley, Loyola and St. Paul’s. John Carroll will visit St. Paul’s next Thursday, host No. 4 C. Milton Wright in a non-league contest, next Saturday, and close at home against Loyola on Oct. 25.