The Archbishop Curley boys soccer team passed an early season test at River Hill on Tuesday, but the young Hawks didn't make things easy.
More efficient with slightly fewer scoring chances, the No. 3 Friars scored goals in each half while senior goalkeeper Jake Ossie shined at the other end with 10 saves for a 2-0 win over No. 7 River Hill.
Freshman Tre Pulliam scored in the 22nd minute and junior Eric Spalt provided an insurance goal five minutes into the second half. Junior Dino Gizzi assisted on both of the goals. The strong play from Ossie, who was kept busy throughout the game, assured victory as the Friars improved to 2-1 this season.
"I had a lot of help from the defense back there. I really couldn't have done that on my own. It was a great effort from everybody," Ossie said. "It happens so fast, you can't really put words to describe it. It kind of just happens — you've just got to have fast reaction out there."
Ossie set the tone defensively for the Friars in the opening minutes when he was able to tip Donovan Pines' heavy strike over the crossbar.
He made a number of saves on point-blank shots, and his best work came with 18 minutes left in the game and the Friars ahead by two goals. River Hill's Michael Heitzmann found room at the top of the penalty area and unleashed a left-footed shot aimed at the top-left corner, but a fully extended Ossie was able to get his left hand to send it wide.
Curley coach Barry Stitz was pleased with the Friars' energy, as well as Ossie's flawless play in the goal. Pulliam's goal came as a result of second effort, beating two defenders to the ball in the right corner and then finishing off a tough-angled shot for a 1-0 lead.
The Friars' second goal was executed perfectly with Gizzi winning the left side and sending a low ball across to Spalt in front.
"In the back, [Ossie] was outstanding, and up top I thought we were dangerous on the counter when they started pushing. It was run and gun — we were trying to get that third goal and maybe finish off the game. We didn't and they had a lot of chances, too," Stitz said.
River Hill coach Matt Shagogue saw plenty of positives in his team's effort. The Hawks, who start three seniors and three freshmen, had a number of quality scoring chances that could have changed the complexion of the game. Ossie's stellar play proved the difference.
"We had some genuine chances and [Ossie] just made some dynamite saves. I was pleased with the way we played," Shagogue said. "I thought the build-up was good, I thought we had a ton of good chances and the game is changed if the keeper doesn't come up big. I don't think 2-0 was indicative."
The Friars got solid two-way play in the middle from senior Michael Sauers, and Pulliam was a strong force, while Pines played well in the midfield for the Hawks.
3 Curley , 7 River Hill
Goals: C – Pulliam, Spalt
Assists: C – Gizzi 2
Saves: C – Ossie 10 ; RH – Potts 5.
Half: C, 1-0.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun