Cards solid on the road
Calvert Hall seniors Walker and O’Connor respond to pep talk, score early in second half to end stalemate
No late-game drama was found or overtime heroics were needed Monday for the Calvert Hall boys soccer team as it beat McDonogh for a second time this season — this one a 2-0 road win that showed that the No. 2 Cardinals have learned from past experience.
In the teams’ first meeting at Calvert Hall on Sept. 9, the Cardinals surrendered a two-goal lead late in regulation and needed overtime to pull out a 3-2 win.
On Monday, seniors Seth Walker and Brady O’Connor scored goals early in the second half, and the advantage stayed as Calvert Hall (11-2-1) took over sole possession of first place in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference with a 9-2-1 league mark for 28 points. Top-ranked Mount Saint Joseph has 25 points (8-1-1 in league play) with two fewer games played.
Scoreless after an evenly played first half, Calvert Hall coach Rich Zinkand challenged his players to make special plays to make the difference.
Walker, a senior defender who dominates in the air, headed home a free kick from O’Connor four minutes into the second half, and then O’Connor converted a penalty kick with 15:53 left to provide an insurance goal.
“We knew we were up for a tough challenge today,” Zinkand said. “What we talked about at halftime is, ‘In this league at the end of the year, it comes down to making plays.’ We got that free kick, and I saw Seth on the far post and Brady was able to get it over to him. Seth deserves it. He works as hard as anybody we have and just dominates in the air, so I was real happy to see him get that first goal today.”
With the free kick on the left side from 35 yards away, O’Connor placed a ball to the far post. Walker got to it, higher than anyone else.
“I saw that Brady was taking it and I put my hand up so he would play me, and he played a beautiful ball across. I was able to get my head on it,” said Walker, who is in his third varsity season. “We haven’t won here since I’ve been here, so it’s good to come to McDonogh and finally get a win.”
The No. 3 Eagles (9-5, 6-5 for 18 points and fourth place) put together two quality performances last week, beating No. 4 Archbishop Curley, 1-0, in overtime Wednesday and then playing well in a 2-1 loss against the top-ranked Gaels.
Coach Brandon Quaranta didn’t see the same energy or emotion Monday. The Eagles had their share of time with the ball but couldn’t muster many scoring opportunities. Their best chance came midway through the first half when Andrew Privett took a return pass from Casey Settleman and got behind the Cardinals defense, but hit a shot from 10 yards right at goalkeeper Kyle Cooper.
“For an opportunity to play a team that’s tied for first place on your home soil, I don’t think we had enough energy or passion the entire game,” Quaranta said. “The reality is, with the makeup of the young team we have, if we don’t fight and scrap for the entire game — like we did at Curley and for a lot of the Mount Saint Joe game — it’s going to be tough to beat good teams like this.”