Cards solid on the road

Calvert Hall se­niors Walker and O’Con­nor re­spond to pep talk, score early in se­cond half to end stale­mate

Baltimore Sun - - VARSITY - By Glenn Gra­ham glenn.gra­ham@balt­sun.com twitter.com/Glen­nGra­hamSun

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.”

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