No. 1 Calvert Hall falls to Spalding, 1-0 2-OT loss ends 26-game unbeaten run by Cards

September 18, 1997|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

The first set of stadium lights were turned off last night at Archbishop Spalding, but the large group of players and friends who remained shouted they weren't ready to leave just yet.

The No. 8-ranked Cavaliers, with a goal from Justin Muller in the 98th minute and some resilient defense in the first 97, stunned No. 1 Calvert Hall, 1-0, in double overtime.

It was Spalding's first win against Calvert Hall and ended the Cardinals (5-1) unbeaten string of 25-0-1 -- dating back to the start of last season.

The winner came off a quick counterattack, what the Cavaliers (4-1-1) relied on for most of their offense all night long.

Junior Brian Medej collected a through-ball 30 yards out, was knocked off the ball but was able to recover down the right side. His long cross to the far post found a streaking Muller, who headed the ball home with 1: 19 left in the second 10-minute overtime.

It wasn't over just yet.

The clock still had 1: 19 left, and an eternity seemed to pass before the final whistle blew shortly after Calvert Hall senior standout Cam Letke sent one last shot high over the crossbar.

The missed opportunity summed things up for the Cardinals, who continually pressed -- especially in the second half -- but were unable to finish.

"We had all kind of opportunities, but we're not putting any away in practice and not putting any away in games," said Calvert Hall coach Bill Karpovich. "We lost, but we're not down and out. This was the wake-up call we needed."

Until Muller's late heroics, Spalding's defense, led by Mark Cunningham and goalkeeper Reb Beatty (11 saves), was the story. Cunningham welcomed the challenge of marking the talented Letke and won the battle.

"He's an excellent player. What I tried to do was stay on his back and stay persistent," he said.

Stopper Neil Adams and sweeper Mike Wallace didn't let much behind them, and Beatty was there for the leftovers.

Said Spalding coach Rick Carlson: "We've always believed we can play with these teams. This was great stuff."

Both teams hit crossbars in a first half that featured Calvert Hall's short passing game against Spalding's countering ways.

The Cardinals came out and dominated the second half from start to finish, with Letke and senior midfielder Matt Joseph doing most of the work, but neither was able to get anything past Beatty.

Spalding had the edge in the two overtime periods with Tom Rohr sending several long throws in the area in the first 10 minutes.

In the second 10 minutes, Muller had a direct kick from 25 yards out , but Cardinals keeper Tom Paparounis made the diving save.

Pub Date: 9/18/97

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