Calvert Hall, Curley to meet in final
Cardinals beat Mt. St. Joe; Friars defeat McDonogh
Calvert Hall seniors Chris Carroll and Ben Alexander have been friends since they were 8 years old, and now the duo will be playing together for a championship after they connected for the only goal in the No. 3 Cardinals’ 1-0 win over No. 2 Mount Saint Joseph on Thursday.
The Cardinals will play No. 1 Archbishop Curley in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference final Sunday at 5:30 p.m. at Anne Arundel Community College.
“It’s been 13 years since Calvert Hall has been in the finals,” Cardinals coach Rich Zinkand said. “Calvert Hall and Curley. It’s kind of old-school back in the finals.”
Carroll fired the game-winning goal past keeper Nick DeShong with 16:17 left in the second half. Alexander had the assist.
“I saw Ben and we played a one-two, and I knew if I just put it back on target, it would probably go in, and off the post was good enough for me,” Carroll said.
Zinkand wasn’t surprised to see the duo come through in a big game.
Over the summer, Alexander, Carroll and Calvert Hall defender Seth Walker played together for the Pipeline SC squad that claimed an under-17 U.S. Youth Soccer national championship.
“We’ve got two guys who have been playing together for a long time now, and Chris plays it to Ben and Ben plays it back to Chris, and he just strikes it,” Zinkand said.
“It hit the side post and went in,” Mount Saint Joseph coach Mike St. Martin said. “There is nothing Nick could have done on that. It was a great finish.”
Finishing was the problem for the Gaels, in part because Zinkand moved Walker from midfield to defense to challenge balls in the air.
“He’s usually a holding midfielder, but we moved him about two weeks ago to the center back position, and he’s a beast,” Zinkand said. “He’s very good in the air and he solidified some things for us there.”
Mount Saint Joseph had numerous chances, especially in the second half when Kenny Crist had eight throw-ins into the Calvert Hall box.
Walker, who cleared several in the first half, managed to limit the touches of Gaels defender Brett St. Martin.
Less than three minutes into the second half, Mount Saint Joseph’s Joseph Clark had a breakaway after a nifty pass from Mark Mansfield but shot high.
A combination from the Gaels’ Diego Guerrero to Jordan Ehart led to a shot by Mansfield that was blocked by a defender.
Calvert Hall’s defense of Walker, John Assaro, Camden Ohrin and Eamon Black, and the added hustle of midfielders Ben Bender and Zach Urbanski, kept goalie Kyle Cooper clean most of the day.
NO. 1 ARCHBISHOP CURLEY 3, NO. 5 MCDONOGH 1: Junior Ben Stitz finished with one goal and two assists to lead the Friars (19-3-2) to their 10th straight win and a berth in Sunday’s title game.
Senior Alejandro Arbalaez added a goal and an assist and senior Matt Brummet opened the scoring with his 15th goal of the season as the Friars took a 2-0 lead. McDonogh, the league’s defending champion, which beat Curley in last year’s title game, finished the season 15-7.