Mount Saint Joseph’s Johnny Sloop scored a goal off an assist from Jordan Ehart with 11 seconds left in the first half and Nathan Porter added a goal late in the second half to lift the host Gaels (7-2) to a 2-0 victory over Calvert Hall (5-3-1) in Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference boys soccer action on Wednesday afternoon at John M Plevyak Field.
Sloop’s goal began with a nifty pass from Diego Guerrero to the outside.
“We started off a little shaky, but Diego played a great ball at the end and I was screaming for it and Johnny made a great run,” Ehart said. “It was under a minute left and we knew we had to work for it, so we worked our tails off to get that.”
Ehart, who is a defender, also had the only assist in the Gaels’ 1-0 win over Loyola Blakefield in the previous game.
“We try to attack out of the back, so even though he’s a fullback, we try to get our outside backs up the field.” Mount Saint Joe coach Mike St. Martin said. “He doesn’t get a lot of the credit, but he definitely is a very good player that deserves credit,”
Porter’s goal with 13:30 left in the second half came on a header, after a corner kick by Ian Reger.
Calvert Hall’s best scoring chance was a rocket by Sean Barwick from 15 yards away with 24:05 left in the second half, but keeper Ashton Carey made a diving one-handed save to steer it wide.
Mount St. Joe had the majority of opportunities in the first 15 minutes, especially during a three-minute span just over the 30-minute mark.
The first chance was a free kick from 40 yards out by Reger, that led to a shot by Tyler Collins.
Collins, who will play at the Naval Academy next year, leaked the header wide.
A corner by Reger led to a shot on goal and Guerrero hit the post and had a shot wide.
The Gaels defense was anchored by Collins, Ehart and Brett St. Martin.
St. Martin, who will play for the University of Maryland next year, rejected several Calvert Hall balls in the box by winning headers.
Calvert Hall’s first shot on goal came from Cam Ohrin, after he intercepted a pass and drilled a long shot to keeper Carey.
Sophomore Ben Bender also created a turnover that led to a pass to Ohrin, but a breakaway was negated by an offsides call.
Neither team got another golden opportunity until Sloop scored in the waning seconds of the half.
“That’s a big momentum swing there, and it’s the second time that has happened to us this year,” Calvert Hall coach Rich Zinkand said. “We are a little young. We’ve got to make sure we play every half out and don’t give up anything like that.”
Calvert Hall was more aggressive offensively early in the second half and had a shot by Bender that sailed wide and the one from Barwick that Carey stopped for his best save of the night.
Less than a minute after Barwick’s shot on goal, his corner kick almost led to another chance, but James Garfink’s try was wide.
Sophomore Porter salted the game away less than 10 minutes later.
“We created some chances, but we are going to have to finish a number of our chances to make games interesting,” Zinkand said. “They got the better of us in the beginning of the game, but I think there was a spell where we were winning the balls and going in and I just told the boys, ‘We’ve just got to complete that last critical pass so that we can get a clean look at the goal.’ ”
Although happy with the lead at halftime, St. Martin wasn’t overjoyed by his team’s inconsistency.
“Even though we were up 1-0, I didn’t think we played our best soccer,” St. Martin said. “Credit to Calvert Hall, but I still didn’t think we played our best half. I thought we made some adjustments at halftime and I thought that we did a better job in the second half, especially just completing some of those simple passes.”
The Gaels played their fourth straight game without standout senior forward Jake Mazzei.
Mazzei, who will play at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County next year, is out with an ankle injury.
“He is getting there,” St. Martin said. “He started rehabbing and he started some jogging so we’ll see. Hopefully, he’s coming back this week.”
The Gaels are at McDonogh on Friday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m.
The Gaels will be going for their sixth straight win, but Ehart feels they can improve.
“Recently, we haven’t been playing our best, so we’ve been trying put hard work in at practice getting better, every one on the team no matter if you are the 29th guy or the first guy, you’ve got to work your tail off to be better, so we are definitely playing hard and when we get the chance we’ve got to step it up a little bit.” Ehart said.
Calvert Hall hosts Loch Raven at 4 p.m. on Friday.