The last time the McDonogh boys soccer team did not reach the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship game was 2005.
With one quick burst and a poised finish, Calvert Hall senior forward Jacob Bender ended that streak Tuesday in Owings Mills. Bender's goal with 15 seconds left in regulation of the quarterfinal game gave the No. 7 Cardinals a 2-1 win over No. 3 McDonogh, the defending league champion.
Bender nudged past a defender on the right to chase down a pass sent forward by Brad McKim and drove a shot from 14 yards over drawn out reserve goalkeeper Max Caputo.
"I was just playing really hard and saw the opportunity, and just sprinted to try to get the ball with second effort and then placed it in the goal. Afterward, we were all just so happy," said Bender, who now has seven goals and three assists this season.
Calvert Hall (9-9-1) will travel to No. 2 Loyola for the semifinal round set for 3:30 p.m Thursday. McDonogh was without starting goalie Matt Sanchez, who was in Jamaica representing Puerto Rico's under-20 national team in World Cup qualifying. The Eagles end their season with a 10-4-3 mark.
Controlling play most of the game, McDonogh took a 1-0 lead early in the second half on Erumuse Momoh's header in front. But the Cardinals, who edged McDonogh, 1-0, late in the regular season, quickly got the goal back when Dominic Fullano put home a chance in front sent in on a free kick by Zach Rutherford.
The Eagles, who graduated eight starters from last year's title team, had problems finishing off scoring chances all season and it caught up with them again on Tuesday.
"If you don't put your chances away, good teams like Calvert Hall are going to beat you," McDonogh coach Steve Nichols said. "It's disappointing in a sense, but I'm proud of these guys. I thought we did better than I would have predicted early in the year," he said.
No. 5 Gilman 1, No. 6 Mount St. Joseph 0: Carter Gray provided the game's only goal, heading home Sam Wancowicz's free kick midway through the second half as the Greyhounds (13-4-4) advanced to the semifinals, where they will travel to Archbishop Curley at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
After an evenly-played first half, the Greyhounds had the better of the play in the second 40 minutes — getting the needed goal and then protecting the lead by continuing to go forward. The visiting Gaels (10-10) committed more players forward in the final 10 minutes, but the Greyhounds held strong.
In the two regular-season games against Curley, Gilman fell 3-1 early and then earned a 2-2 draw in the second meeting.
"We're going to have to be at our best to be competitive against Curley," Gilman coach Jon Seal said. "They're a very talented team, so we need to play hard and execute. The top four teams were really close together and it was Curley that earned that top seed, so we're going to have to go on the road and make something happen."
MIAA A quarterfinal
7 Calvert Hall , 3 McDonogh
Goals: CH -- Fullano, Bender; M -- Momoh
Assists: CH – Rutherford, McKim; M – Linardi.
Saves: CH -- Brashears 7; M – Caputo 2.
5 Gilman 1, 6 Mount St. Joseph 0
Goals: G – Carter Gray
Assists: G -- Wancowicz
Saves: MSJ – Brett DeBoy 7; G – Wittich 3.
Half: 0-0Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun