No. 2 Howard put its home-field advantage to good use in beating No. 10 Calvert Hall in soccer last night, 2-1.
The Lions (2-0), playing on a field much narrower than the 70-yard ones Calvert Hall (0-1) is used to, kept the action in the middle of the field where its strongest players were.
"It definitely was to our advantage to keep the action in the middle," Lions coach Rudy Storch said. "We're not as strong a team as last year, but despite missing a lot of opportunities, we didn't play badly tonight."
Striker Josh Smith kicked the game-winner for Howard with 10 minutes left, after missing three earlier shots he thought he should have made.
"I was beginning to wonder if I ever would make one," Smith said. The shot was from 18 yards out and off the hand of Cardinals goalie Larry Rohleder.
Earlier, Rohleder had the misfortune of falling down as he was back-pedaling on Howard's first goal -- a 55-yard boot by Chris Smith, Josh's brother.
"It was the longest goal I ever made," said Chris Smith.
That unusual goal came just 10 minutes into the game and gave Howard a 1-0 lead.
The young, hustling Cardinals fought back with their own score at 31 minutes, when Bryan Bujarin beat Howard goalie Joe Wilson from five yards out. J.J. Kramer's cross set up the score.
"It was a pretty even game," Cardinals coach Bill Karpovich said. "The field was hard for us to adjust to, so we played over the top more than usual. Our guys shouldn't get their heads down."
Storch said his second-half strategy was to push his sweeper up into the offense until the Lions could break the 1-1 tie.
"We played without a sweeper until we got ahead," Storch said.
Chris Smith praised Calvert Hall, saying: "It's a good feeling beating the toughest non-league team on our schedule. They're a great team."