St. Paul’s boys soccer coach Majid Mirza acknowledged that some disappointment still lingered from last year’s loss to Boys’ Latin in a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference semifinal.
The Lakers’ triumph over their archrival last fall ended the Crusaders’ bid to become a three-time conference champion.
In the rematch in Brooklandville on Monday afternoon, No. 10 St. Paul’s exacted a measure of revenge over No. 13 Boys’ Latin with a 2-0 victory on goals by Nate Hall and Russell Green.
“We only lost two games last year and both were to BL,” said Mirza, whose team moved up to A Conference this season. “It was an emotional game, but we played well. We had a lot of opportunities to score. I was very pleased with our performance.”
The Lakers (1-2) managed just one shot on goal in the first half, although junior midfielder Elliot King’s header was easily saved by sophomore keeper Connor Brown in the fourth minute.
St. Paul’s (5-2) used its exceptional quickness and superior passing ability to test Lakers’ senior goalie Parker Yablon and defenders Drew Miller, Liam Burman, Hayden Kovinsky, and Hunter Moreland for the remainder of the half, outshooting Boys’ Latin, 9-0, in that stretch.
Junior striker Hall scored in the 10th minute, weaving through two defenders to strike a right-footed shot to the upper left corner past Yablon (8 saves) for his fourth goal of the season.
Shortly thereafter, junior midfielder Morgan Lussi’s chance for the Crusaders was denied by the near post and Hall had a similar frustrating result in the final minute.
“We didn’t take them lightly,” Hall said. “They only lost to (A Conference power) Gilman, 1-0. I think we controlled the game pretty much the whole time. We are getting the opportunities. We just need to start finishing.”
St. Paul’s controlled the second half as well, just missing an excellent chance in the 46th minute when Yablon made a sensational save on Lussi’s point-blank shot.
Green’s header, however, off John Clemons' corner kick in the 58th minute, doubled the Crusaders’ lead.
Still, St. Paul’s pushed forward Hall and came close to increasing its advantage when Hall found the post for a second time.
The Lakers’ best chance for a goal came in with two minutes remaining in regulation when senior midfielder Danny Shaifer’s attempt was saved by Brown.
“We played much better in the second half,” Boys’ Latin coach Don Rickels said. “We played with too much emotion in the first half. We didn’t play soccer. We were diving in, trying to tackle rather than playing organized and good defense.”
No. 10 St. Paul’s 2, No. 13 Boys’ Latin 0
Goals: SP – Hall, Green.
Assists: SP– Glemons
Saves: SP– Brown 4; BL – Yablon 8; Pisanic 1.
Half: SP, 1-0