The McDonogh boys soccer team needed to go through a game-long process to get past rival Calvert Hall on Friday and it wasn’t easy.
The visiting Eagles gradually took hold of the game, finally punched in two second-half goals and then still had to survive a late scare.
Andrew Privett and Casey Settleman provided the offense and goalie Kieran Baskett did his part with a game-saving stop with two minutes left, giving the No. 2 Eagles a 2-1 victory at No. 12 Calvert Hall in Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference play.
The Eagles stayed undefeated at 6-0 (5-0 MIAA), while the defending league champion Cardinals fell to 3-2 both overall and in the conference.
“Once again, it’s two good teams in the MIAA — it’s going to be like this all year. There’s going to be no easy games — home or away. They were 3-1 in the league and this is what we expected coming here,” said McDonogh coach Brandon Quaranta, who praised the special efforts from Priveet and Baskett in leading the effort.
The Eagles started to press in the latter stages of the first half and picked right up in the second half, but couldn’t find the back of the net until Privett’s work with 25:24 to play. Setting up for a free kick from 35-plus yards out, he found an opening in the upper corner for a 1-0 advantage.
After the Eagles made it 2-0 on Settleman’s easy tap-in off a Luke Davis shot five minutes later, it appeared they were on their way to a solid road win. But the Cardinals, with a largely new starting group after the graduation of last year’s talented class, stayed with the task for all 80 minutes.
Some good fortune helped give Calvert Hall a chance when Dylan Burruss sent a low ball in from the right side that deflected in off a McDonogh defender with 4:31 to play.
The next time the Cardinals were in the Eagles’ end, Trey Stallings took a clean shot from 10 yards that Baskett, a junior transfer from Canada, was there to turn aside.
“You bring in Kieran as a junior transfer to be the guy who can make difference-making saves. We’ve had good goalies the last couple years, but he’s special,” Quaranta said. “Big save today. If he lets that ball in, who knows what happens in the game?”
Both teams had chances in a scoreless first half with the Cardinals starting fast and getting to the ball first early before the Eagles began to take control in the latter stages of the first 40 minutes.
Baskett and his goalkeeper counterpart, Spencer Nattans, both passed significant tests to keep the game scoreless going into the break.
With 24 minutes left in the half, Baskett made a diving fingertip stop on a shot from Ryan Fascetta that was targeted for the far post.
McDonogh’s best chance came on a set piece with 5:35 left in the half. From 40 yards out, Privett sent a ball to the penalty area that was headed on goal by Jayson Cyrus but turned away Nattans.
With so much turnover from last year’s starting lineup, the Cardinals continue to be a work in progress as the season goes along. Coach Rich Zinkand likes the strides that are being made.
“We’re going to keep working and I know we’re going to get a little better each game,” he said. “This league, it’s going to be a battle game in and game out. You can throw the rankings and the standings out the door with some of these games that take place. I give McDonogh credit today — they held the possession, they played well. We’re just looking to take advantage of the opportunities we’re given. We’re creating them, but just not finishing them at the rate we need to.”
McDonogh returns to league play Wednesday, when it visits No. 1 Archbishop Curley at 4 p.m.
The Cardinals will try to bounce back with a league game at Gilman on Monday. Game time is set for 4:15 p.m.
2 McDonogh 2, 12 Calvert Hall 1
Goals: M – Privett, Settleman; CH -- Dylan Burruss
Assists: M -- Davis
Saves: M – Baskett 4; CH – Nattans 7