Big moments in soccer can be a precious few when two quality sides are playing on even terms.
Saturday at Calvert Hall, the host Cardinals won the biggest ones against Loyola Blakefield.
Sophomore goalie Nate Jones turned away a penalty kick midway through a scoreless first half and then Cody Angelini and Rich Monath scored goals for the home team — the latter coming in the first minute of the second half that proved to be the game winner as Calvert Hall claimed a 2-1 win over the Dons.
Calvert Hall improves to 2-1 in the Catholic League, while Loyola drops to 1-2.
“Players made plays today,” said Calvert Hall coach Rich Zinkand. “Give credit to Loyola — they made us work. We didn’t play our best game, but we did enough and with the 10-game season, when you get three points at the end of the day, that’s really all that matters.”
The Dons seemed to settled into the game a little faster and had the first chance to break though when senior Dominic Caltabiano was fouled in the penalty area and awarded a penalty kick. He hit it well, but was not able to find a corner with Jones (five saves) guessing right to turn it away.
The play lifted the Cardinals' energy and Angelini provided the reward eight minutes later when he successfully challenged two defenders on the left side before hitting a left-footed shot from 8 yards that found the inside of the far post.
Zinkand was quick to comment on the importance of Jones' stop setting the tone.
“It’s a momentum changer right there. He’s a sophomore goalkeeper, experienced player taking the kick and he guessed right. That helps not just his confidence, but I think the entire team kind of fed off that.”
At the start of the second half, it took only 24 seconds for the Cardinals to add to the lead when they strung together three passes before Monath’s finish from 12 yards on the right side. David Peters' feed from the middle set him up perfectly for the one-time hit.
“We needed to keep the momentum for the second half and it was a great start. I had so much space on the right side and just made a run and knew David could find me. He gave me a perfect pass,” Monath said.
The Cardinals did well in protecting the lead throughout the second half, surrendering some ground but permitting few quality scoring opportunities. Loyola’s Ryan Kelly finally broke through with 1:39 to play to provide drama, but the Dons didn’t have an opportunity to tie with the remaining time.
“I think possession was probably pretty even — both teams actually did some good stuff — so it came down to the critical moments in the offensive third and both 18 1/4 u2032s and they did better,” said Loyola coach Lee Tschantret.
Both teams will host games on Wednesday with Loyola Blakefield going against undefeated Mount Saint Joseph at 3 p.m. and Calvert Hall taking on Archbishop Curley at 4.
Goals: LB – Kelly; CH – Angelini, Monath. Assists: LB – Pietila; CH - Peters. Saves: LB – Eckman 5; CH – Jones 5. Half: CH, 1-0
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