Mount Saint Joseph forward Van Danielson has a confident feeling every time he touches the soccer ball these days.
For the Gaels, that’s a very good thing.
The senior captain scored two goals — both coming off feeds from fellow senior Miles Lam — as Mount Saint Joseph remained undefeated with a 4-1 win over Calvert Hall on Wednesday.
With three games left in the condensed regular season, Mount Saint Joseph is 7-0 and in control of the six-team Catholic League, while Calvert Hall is in second place with a 4-2 mark.
Fresh off a three-goal performance in a 7-0 win at Archbishop Curley on Monday, Danielson picked up where he left off with the first goal of the game Wednesday. He scored his second goal in the second half to make it 3-1.
“When you’re scoring, you feel good about it. You want the ball and you don’t really think about it — you just kind of envision yourself scoring, so that’s what I was doing today,” he said. “I got two more, so pretty happy about that.”
Five minutes into play, the Gaels incorporated what they worked on the day before in practice, using the entire field to create open space to set up Danielson’s opening goal.
Lam took a pass ahead from defender Hunter Murphy on the left side and found Danielson making a run on the right side for the 1-0 advantage.
“It all started from the back — I thought our defense had a really solid game,” Lam said. “Hunter Murphy played me up a ball and I saw Van wide open on the right, so I played it to him and he had a great finish.”
The Cardinals settled in and created chances, but Mount Saint Joseph again proved opportunistic when senior Alec Carey won a challenge above the penalty area, took two swift dribbles and found the lower left corner to make it 2-0 with 8:31 to play in the first half.
Undeterred, the Cardinals worked their way back into the game minutes before the break when Rich Monath went high from 25 yards to cut the lead to 2-1 with 2:26 to play.
After the Cardinals had a quality chance to tie the game with 30 minutes to play on a header by David Peters called back because of an offsides whistle, the visitors had to play a man down when Liam Giblin was issued his second yellow card. The Danielson-Lam connection made it 3-1 before Brian St. Martin put away a late penalty kick to close out the scoring.
Despite their second loss against the Gaels, who claimed a 3-2 win at Calvert Hall earlier this month, the Cardinals once again showed some good stretches in being able to stay close.
“[We have] a relatively young core group of players, so I just told them we’re going to learn from this experience and hopefully we get another shot to keep playing this year, and if we see them again, we’d love to have another shot at them,” Calvert Hall coach Rich Zinkand said.
The Gaels got strong performances from center midfielder Tyquan Stroud, who controlled much of the play, and center defender Jackson Simons.
Goals: CH – Monath; MSJ – Danielson 2, Carey, St. Martin Assists: CH – Angelini; MSJ – Lam 2 Saves: CH – Jones 9; MSJ – Jones 2, Fenstermacher 1 Half: MSJ, 2-1
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