Down a goal to Dons, Brown rallies Eagles

McDonogh responds with two scores in key MIAA A conference game

September 27, 2014|By Todd Karpovich | For The Baltimore Sun

An early goal by No. 4 Loyola Blakefield's Gavin Barger put top-ranked McDonogh in the unfamiliar position of playing from behind for the first time this season.

The Eagles responded by dominating possession and then scoring a goal in each half for a 2-1 victory in a key Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference game. Nicolas Brown had a goal and an assist for McDonogh, which has been scored on just three times in nine games this season.

"We talked all year how there was going to be difficult situations in this league this year," Eagles coach Brandon Quaranta said. "We have too much respect for the teams in this league and the competition to know there was not going to be easy games.

Barger gave the Dons (8-3 overall, 5-2 MIAA) the lead in the sixth minute when his free kick from about 20 yards away deflected off a defender into the corner of the goal. Loyola then continued to attack, which kept McDonogh under pressure and forced them to stay focused defensively.

However, the Eagles (9-0, 7-0) started playing with five midfielders that were effective stringing passes around the center of the field and maintaining possession. McDonogh then tied the game when Brown scored on a header off a cross from Connor Smith in the 21st minute.

Brown set up the winner when he took on a couple of defenders and made a short pass to Tunde Akinlosotu, who poked the ball past Dons goalie Carson Hunt.

"We just played well and played hard," Brown said. "This was a very intense game. We trusted in our system and knew the goals were going to come."

The Dons had several effective counter-attacks in the final 13 minutes. However, McDonogh's back line did not budge and goalie Robert Black (five saves) kept the defense organized.

"We sat back a little bit more than I would have liked to at the beginning," Loyola coach Lee Tschantret said. "I thought we did well. It was to good teams battling at it. Overall, I thought it was a good game."

The Eagles had a couple of more chances in the closing minutes when a low shot from Smith went just wide and Akinlosotu could not find the final touch on a deft through-ball by Stephen Nichols.

"There was going to be situations, and certainly today we thought was going to be one of them, where you're playing a really good team and go down a goal and you need to make some big plays at the end," Quaranta said. "Considering we had not had one of those moments this year, as a coaching staff we wondered how we would respond. I thought the response was fantastic."


No. 1 McDonogh 2, No. 4 Loyola 1

Goals: M-Brown, Akinlosotu; L-Barger. Assists: M-Smith, Brown. Saves: M-Black 5; L-Hunt 6.

Half: 1-1

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