The McDonogh boys soccer team has been winning games despite inconsistent play in the first half.
That wasn’t a problem Wednesday against visiting Calvert Hall.
The No. 2 Eagles scored twice in the opening 15 minutes and got goals from five players in a 5-0 win over the No. 15 Cardinals in Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference play.
McDonogh (14-2, 11-2 MIAA A) and No. 1 Archbishop Curley (14-1-1, 11-1) have a league-high 33 points with the Friars having one league game in hand as the regular season reaches its final weeks. Calvert Hall (8-7, 6-7 for 18 points) remains in fifth place, still looking to clinch one of the six playoff spots.
The Eagles are hoping their sharp first half Wednesday will become the norm.
It started with Sean Nolan’s goal from 25 yards that found the lower left corner in the ninth minute, a follow on a free kick from Andrew Privett that Calvert Hall’s wall blocked.
Less than five minutes later, Privett sent a one-touch pass ahead to Casey Settleman, who ran on to the ball and scored from 20 yards into the same corner for a 2-0 lead. The Cardinals, who looked focused in the opening minutes until Nolan’s goal, never recovered. Jacob Steinberg gave the Eagles a 3-0 lead with 7:36 left before halftime.
“It’s just a mindset,” said Settleman, who has 16 goals this season. “We know we can do it. We have the talent. It’s just about coming out firing and putting in effort and putting a team under from the first moments.”
The loss was a disappointing step back for Calvert Hall, which fell 2-1 to McDonogh in the teams’ first meeting Sept. 15.
The Cardinals have lost three straight league games and must regroup Friday when they host sixth-place Gilman (4-7 MIAA A for 12 points).
“Just not enough – that’s the disappointing thing I told the guys,” Calvert Hall coach Rich Zinkand said. “We played well for small increments of the game, but it’s an 80-minute game and we’ve got to have more of the better minutes than the opposition, and today, give McDonogh credit, they definitely had better minutes than we did.
“We haven’t clinched anything. It’s fun to get to the dance, as they say, but we’re not there yet. So we have to think about this one for a little bit tonight, sort some things out and then we’re back at it again with Gilman coming over on Friday for a big match for us.”
McDonogh will play No. 13 Bel Air on Friday before returning to league play Wednesday against visiting No. 1 Archbishop Curley. Both games are set for 4:15 p.m.
Goals: M – Nolan, Settleman, Steinberg, Christian, Brown. Assists: M – Privett 2, Nolan. Saves: CH – Nattans 6; M – Burkett 3, Smith 2. Half: M, 3-0