No. 1 Curley captures MIAA crown

Quigley's goal lifts Friars to 1-0 victory over McDonogh

Soccer

Varsity

November 05, 2006|By Todd Karpovich | Todd Karpovich,Special to The Sun

After a disappointing season in 2005 and losing this year's season opener to John Carroll, Archbishop Curley coach Barry Stitz began to wonder what it would take to motivate his Friars.

Fortunately, his team found their remedy in a spirited effort in the second game of the season against Loyola.

The overtime victory jump-started the Friars to a dominant season, culminating in yesterday's 1-0 win over McDonogh for the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference league championship.

It was top-ranked Curley's first title since 1999. The Friars also finished the regular season atop the MIAA standings.

B.J. Quigley scored what proved to be the game-winner when he took a pass from Bash Kamara with 28:40 left in the first half, dribbled by his defender and flicked a low shot to the far corner of the goal from about 10 yards away.

For Quigley, the win was especially poignant, after spending the last half of the season mourning the death of his grandmother. He dedicated his performance to her.

"Halfway through the season I lost my grandmother, so she has been a big inspiration for me for the past 10 games or so," said Quigley, who scored a league-high 27 goals this season. "We knew we could beat the best teams, but we also knew we could lose to some mediocre ones this season. Once we got the wake-up call [against John Caroll], we just blossomed from there."

After Curley (21-3) scored the goal, the Friars continued to attack McDonogh in search of another one. Quigley had two nice runs on goal during a two-minute span early in the second half, but his shots were stopped by Eagles goalie Ben Bartlett. Sean Rothe also hit the underside of the crossbar with 12:30 left in the game.

"We talked from Day One what our goals were," Stitz said. "I think the first step was realizing we did not do what we expected last year, and we are all accountable.

"Our goal was to get to the championship game and once we were there, it was our responsibility to take care of business."

While the Friars mustered just enough offense to take home the win, the defense did not budge against McDonogh's potent attack of Chris Agorsor and Andrew Bulls. Senior Vince Savarese and freshman Oumar Ballo were especially dominant, winning several loose balls and chasing the McDonogh forwards.

It was the third time Curley beat McDonogh (15-4-1) by one goal this season.

"We just marked up their players and won every air ball," Ballo said. "I think we wanted it more than they did."

McDonogh tried to mount a late rally, but the Eagles could not get their foot on several loose balls that rolled through Curley's penalty area.

Coach Steve Nichols conceded that the Eagles lost to the better team, but he expects his young squad, which started only four seniors, will be right back in the thick of things next season.

"We are very talented, but we are very young," Nichols said. "We knew that next year would be one of the better years we have had, and the next two or three would also be pretty [darn] good.

"Getting here was a great accomplishment for these guys."

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