With his back to the goal, Brett St. Martin scored a goal with a flick off the top of his head to give No. 4 Mount St. Joseph (4-1-1) a 1-0 win over visiting No. 1 Calvert Hall (6-2).
St. Martin’s second goal of the season came after Ian Reger's free kick from 50 yards out eight minutes into the second half.
“I saw the keeper coming out behind me and I just flicked it on and it hit the back of the net,” St. Martin said.
The junior defender must have absorbed the halftime words of his father and coach of the Gaels, Mike St. Martin.
“We talked about it at halftime, it doesn’t have to be a lot of the ball, it just has to be something to re-direct it,” coach St. Martin said. “Sometimes halftime speeches work and some times you look good and sometimes you don’t.”
St. Martin wasn’t surprised to see his son’s head get the first touch.
“He does well in the air. He’s got some ups,” said St. Martin, of his son who played basketball his freshman year.
Calvert Hall stepped up the pressure in the second half with the best scoring chance coming on a hard shot from seven yards out by Brady O’Connor with 9:36 left in the game, but that was saved by goalie Nick DeShong.
“That was a great save,” said St. Martin, who praised the defense of St. Martin, Tyler Collins, Kenny Crist and Jordan Ehart. “My four backs never came out of the game.”
Collins led the team in clears from the box and Crist was playing for the first time since he injured his ankle.
“He’s still not 100 percent so he really had to tough it out,” St. Martin said.
The coach also praised the play of midfielders Reger, Joe Clark and Diego Guerrero.
“Ian has scored off of set pieces and he just plays some beautiful balls into the box,” St. Martin said. “He (Reger) had a great game, not only that, but defensively he kind of tidied up the middle with Joe Clark and Diego. They did a good job of forcing the ball out wide because they are dangerous.”
Calvert Hall coach Rich Zinkand, who graduated from Calvert Hall with St. Martin and was in his wedding party, knew his attack needed to finish.
“We got a little frustrated, but these games turn out to who makes the plays,” Zinkand said. “St. Joe made a play and we just didn’t get one today.”
Calvert Hall also had a shot that sailed over the goal from five yards out by Joe Van Detta and a dangerous low cross from Ben Alexander that nobody could touch midway through the second half.
Calvert Hall (5-2 conference) remained atop the league standings.
Chris Carroll also served several nice balls into the box that couldn’t be re-directed into the goal.
“We knew they were a good team coming in and it’s always a tough place to play,” Zinkand said. “We just didn’t capitalize on a couple chances today.”
“In the second half they were trying to press to get the equalizer which they are going to try to do and they put numbers forward and I think we lost some of our defensive positioning through the middle and once we figured that out we started winning the balls," St Martin said.
The Gaels will go for their fourth straight win and third this week when they play at John Carroll on Friday, Sept. 23.
“The rigors of the MIAA, not only do you not have an easy game its also back-to-back," St. Martin said.