With bye on the line, McDonogh, Loyola tie

Playoff matchups remain unsettled after 1-1 decision

Boys soccer

High Schools

October 16, 2002|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

McDonogh and Loyola played yesterday at the intensity level of a league championship game.

And in a roundabout way, it might have been one, even though the boys soccer game ended in a 1-1 tie after two 10-minute overtime periods at Loyola. The teams also tied, 1-1, when they played earlier this season at McDonogh.

At stake was second place in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference and the first-round playoff bye that goes with it.

Ninth-ranked Loyola (8-3-2 overall, 6-3-2 league), needed a win to tighten the race.

No. 7 McDonogh (12-3-2, 7-1-2) has six league games remaining, including Calvert Hall tomorrow. If the two teams remain in their current positions, McDonogh would play host to Loyola in the MIAA semifinals.

"You don't want to have to play a quarterfinal game because it takes a lot out of you mentally," said Dons coach Don Kraft. "And no one wants to have to play McDonogh at McDonogh."

Loyola struck first in the 10th minute when Jim Womer carried the ball down the right side and crossed it to Kevin Mezzadra, who juggled it once on his foot before volleying it into the upper right section of the goal. Mezzadra has 19 goals and five assists.

McDonogh then took control of the rest of the half, pounding the Loyola goal with 13 shots, but didn't score. On the best chances, Kyle McHugh hit a crossbar in the 12th minute and Brian Yi's breakaway shot hit Loyola goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald in the chest in the 20th minute.

Loyola took only three first-half shots.

The intensity level picked up even more in the second half with four yellow cards issued.

One went to Loyola's Jake Salter for grabbing McHugh's jersey in the box. The Eagles were awarded a penalty kick on the play, and tied the score in the 46th minute when Yi converted it.

Yi was twice tripped just outside the box as he was driving for potential goals, but the Eagles failed to convert either direct kick.

The Dons' offense began to come to life in the second half, but failed to score on a couple of good late-game opportunities, while the Eagles continued to be frustrated by Fitzgerald, who had two sensational saves among his total of 26.

"Fitzgerald was phenomenal," Kraft said. "In addition to making great saves, he ran the box well, his outlet passes were right on and his positioning of defenders was well beyond his years."

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