Calvert Hall's hard work pays off in 3-2 win

No. 8 Cardinals challenged by No. 9 Curley in boys soccer opener

September 05, 2014|By Glenn Graham, The Baltimore Sun

The only thing that came easy for the No. 8 Calvert Hall soccer team in its 3-2 season-opening win at rival Archbishop Curley Friday was the game-winning goal.

Sophomore forward Ben Alexander was right where he needed to be on the goal line, ready to tap it home.

The score, which came with 15:30 left and answered a tying goal from the No. 9 Friars just two minutes earlier, was a deserved reward for all the hard work that preceded it.

The Cardinals earned a free kick just outside the penalty area that Brady O'Connor sent to the middle. D.R. Medtart got higher than everybody else to head the ball forward and Alexander did the rest. The Cardinals then had to defend four Curley corner kicks in the final minutes to seal the victory.

Alexander said it was one of the easier goals he ever scored, but as far as the rest of the game: "It was just hard work, we didn't stop and we just showed a lot of character."

The Cardinals had a chance to score two minutes into the game when Nick Rosso got free inside the penalty area, but his hurried shot from 10 yards out was sprayed wide.

But the visitors stayed persistent and controlled play for the first 35 minutes to claim a 2-0 lead on goals from Jeff Schaefer and Rosso.

After Curley standout senior Tre Pulliam, dangerous throughout the game, scored with four minutes left in the first half, the Friars went into halftime trailing only 2-1.

Curley carried the momentum into the second half, but chance after chance was turned away by Calvert Hall goalie Sam Loeffler, who made four of his seven saves while protecting the one-goal lead.

It took a perfectly-placed shot inside the corner from Curley midfielder Luis Turbyfield — 18 yards out from the left side that went inside the near post — for the Friars to tie the game at 2 with 17:30 to play.

Anderson and the Cardinals made sure to have the last word. After failing to make the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference playoffs last year, the team's start to the 2014 season couldn't have been better scripted.

"We knew coming in it was going to be dogfight with the heat and everything else, and we really just showed resilience in the second half," Calvert Hall coach Rich Zinkand said. "It would have been very easy to drop our heads and give in. But we got the free kick, guys immediately went forward, got in the box, challenged on the first ball and then we got the second ball once it dropped to the ground. We kept fighting and playing through and we got the result we came for."

After seeing his Friars rally to tie after the sluggish start, coach Barry Stitz felt it was a game that needed to be won on home turf.

"We got the game to 2-2, we had all the momentum and then we gave up a goal two minutes later. It's real tough, especially when you come back from a 2-0 deficit," he said. "It was a game that could have went either way and when you're in a game like that, you feel like you have to come out of it with a win, and we didn't."

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