Mt. St. Joe knocks off Loyola in semis, 3-1

Defending champion McDonogh defeats No. 9 Calvert Hall, 3-1

High School

November 09, 2001|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

For fifth-year Mount St. Joseph coach Mike St. Martin, yesterday's 3-1 Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference semifinal victory over Loyola proved to him that the Gaels' soccer program is finally where he wants it to be.

The Gaels' last soccer championship was in 1978, and they now advance to tomorrow's 5 p.m. championship game at Johns Hopkins University against McDonogh, also a 3-1 winner in a semifinal yesterday against Calvert Hall.

No. 8-ranked Mount St. Joseph (15-5-1), top-seeded in the tournament, ended Loyola's string of five straight shutouts. And for the fourth straight season, Loyola's title quest ended in the semifinal round.

No. 14 Loyola (13-8-3) jumped ahead in the fourth minute when Andrew Henciak followed up a muffed ball by Gaels goalkeeper Dave Semko.

The Dons' Chase Gahan just missed putting the Gaels two goals behind four minutes later, but missed on a follow-up of Kevin Mezzadra's deflected direct kick.

With 24:30 left in the half, Mount St. Joseph midfielder Tim Kerr tied it by drilling a kick inside the far post after a miscommunication between Loyola goalkeeper Amir Karimian and a defender that resulted in Kerr's shot.

The Gaels finally went ahead with 27:37 to play on Jake Dashiell's kick that caromed off Karimian.

Five minutes later, Mount St. Joseph's Kurt Wilson headed in a goal off a flick by Darius Pilius on Will Garmen's long throw-in.

"Winning 50/50 balls was the key today, and staying together after we got down," Gaels coach St. Martin said.

No. 4 McDonogh 3, No. 9 Calvert Hall 1: A week's worth of watching film helped McDonogh see its way clear into the MIAA final.

Battered by Calvert Hall in two losses, the host Eagles - recipients of a first-round bye - made several key adjustments during a week off that paid dividends, sending the defending champions into tomorrow's championship game.

"Having a week to prepare really helped us a lot," McDonogh coach Stephen Nichols said. "We got beat on four set pieces in that 5-3 loss [two weeks ago], so we had to fix that part and get the matchups straight. We also had to tweak with our zone a little bit. Defensively, we were a lot better today than we were that day."

That was clear from the outset, as McDonogh (18-6-1) allowed just four shots in the first half. The Eagles' offense, meanwhile, gave them the early lead.

Following a direct kick, midfielder Kyle McHugh took a feed from Zac Johns, got a step on his defender and beat goalie Phil Phillips to his left to give McDonogh a 1-0 lead 14:49 into the game. Just seven minutes later, Johns made it 2-0, putting in a feed by Matt Beckman.

"We got two [goals] in the first 20 minutes, and that was huge," Johns said. "It kind of set our tone for the rest of the game. We knew that if we defended, we could win the game."

The Eagles extended the lead to 3-0 on Brian Yi's goal 8:44 into the second half. Calvert Hall (10-6-2) scored in the game's final moments to avoid the shutout.

"We just didn't combine well enough in the midfield and really play our game," Cardinals coach Andy Moore said.- Rich Scherr

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