No. 2 St.Paul's boys soccer team forces draw against No. 1 McDonogh

The St. Paul's boys soccer team showed it has gained significant ground on McDonogh since the teams first met in early September, spoiling the No. 1 Eagles' bid for a perfect season on Monday.

The No. 2 Crusaders withstood constant pressure in two 10-minute overtime periods after junior midfielder Brady White scored the game-tying goal in the second half to force the 3-3 draw. It was a different result for St. Paul's, which lost to McDonogh 4-0 on Sept. 11.

McDonogh is now 18-0-1 overall and 14-0-1 in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association's A Conference with its regular-season finale set for Wednesday against visiting John Carroll.

St. Paul's is now 13-2-1 and 12-2-1 in league play. The Crusaders, who got two goals from Nate Hall and 14 saves from goalie Conor Brown, entered the game with 12 straight wins.

Controlling most of the game but unable to get separation from the Crusaders, the Eagles had an 11-0 advantage in shots in the 20 minutes of overtime, but couldn't finish any chances with Brown making five saves in the extra time. After allowing just five goals in their first 18 games, the Eagles uncharacteristically yielded the two to Hall in the first half and White's equalizer in the second.

"It's a tie, but we felt like we lost…," McDonogh coach Steve Nichols said. "It wasn't our typical effort. But credit to [St. Paul's] — they came out and they played and took advantage of their opportunities….We just have to be a little better defensively [like] we've been all year. I don't know what was going on today, we just weren't ourselves. So we just have to regroup tomorrow and get ready for Wednesday and the playoffs."

Hall opened the scoring in the game's 6th minute, but the Eagles were quick to respond with Tunde Akinlosotu and Campbell scoring two minutes apart for a 2-1 lead with 27:17 left in the first half.

But Hall proved opportunistic later in the half when he stole a ball from a defender inside the 18-yard mark and slotted a shot to the far post to tie the game at 2. After Campbell made it 3-2 in the final seconds before intermission, the Eagles dominated the start of the second half but couldn't find the insurance goal they needed.

St. Paul's senior midfielder Illiyas Mirza beat a McDonogh defender down the left side and created just enough space to send a cross to the middle for White, who scored from 10 yards to tie the game at 3 with 19:40 left.

The Crusaders had a couple chances in the final minutes of regulation — the best coming when Russell Green headed a corner kick just wide with 2:30 to play — before the Eagles dominated the overtime. Connor Smith had a heavy left-footed shot from 14 yards that was saved by Brown and Keegan Kelly nearly ended the game with a shot from the left side that went off the near post.

"They pressed us, we played well at times and our goalie, Conor Brown, came up really big for us – he was outstanding. I wish it was a different outcome, but I'll take it," St. Paul's coach Majid Mirza said. "After losing our second and third game, we won 12 straight games and I think that's tremendous for us being in the A Conference for the first year. We've stayed under the radar and we'll keep working them hard."

Boys soccer

1 McDonogh 3, 2 St. Paul's 3 (2 OT)

Goals: M – Campbell 2, Akinlosotu; SP – Hall 2, White

Assists: M – Kelly 2, Smith; SP – White, Mirza

Saves: M – Livingston 4; SP – Brown 14.

Half: M, 3-2

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