Two soccer teams jockeying for playoff position in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference met at Calvert Hall on Wednesday and visiting Mount Saint Joseph rode a sturdy defense and opportunistic offense to a 3-0 victory.

The No. 2-ranked Gaels improved to 9-2-1 overall and 6-2-1 in the conference. They are a half game behind first place McDonogh (6-3) in the Black Division.

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No. 10 Calvert Hall dropped to 5-5-1 overall and 4-4-1 in the Red Division, just ahead of John Carroll (4-5). The top three teams in each division make the playoffs.

Mount Saint’s defense, which secured its sixth shutout, was led by outside backs Dmitri Jordan and Torren Aikens, inside backs Sean Thompson and Jackson Simons, defensive midfielder Brian St. Martin and goalie Joel Fenstermacher (five saves).

“I think we were really on top of it, we’ve been practicing defensive shape and everyone has a good chemistry and everyone works well together,” Aikens said. “I think that’s our secret. Everyone is together and linked together.”

Meanwhile, when Calvert Hall’s defense faltered, the Gaels pounced.

A foul in the box led to a penalty kick by Miles Lam and 1-0 lead with 28:32 left in the first half.

Calvert Hall tried to get the equalizer, but a long shot by Mike Gisriel was saved by Fenstermacher and another shot by Ben Bender was wide from 18 yards out.

Bender got a yellow card moments later and the Gaels continued to pressure him all over the field.

“As a senior and one of the better players in the conference, I think he let them get into his head a little bit today and you could see the frustration in his play and that’s obviously not what we need,” Calvert Hall coach Rich Zinkand said. “We need him to stay composed and he’s got to be the man for us out there and get the ball to his teammates.”

On the other side, St. Joe junior Ty Stroud was keeping Calvert Hall defenders off-balanced with nifty footwork and a dangerous foot.

That foot delivered a goal 59 seconds into the second half, when he cut across the grain and scorched a low shot into the net from 18 yards out.

“Ty is a good player and Zach (Whelan) made a great run and kind of drew a defender and Ty used Zach’s run to kind of make the defender think he was going to go one way and it was a great quality finish from Ty,” Mount St. Joe coach Mike St. Martin said.”

“Ty is a very good player,” Zinkand said. “We had just talked about things we wanted to do defensively and that wasn’t one of them, giving them space, it was closing space and making sure that we were pushing them out wide.”

Calvert Hall had a soft header from Luke Ferrarese that was saved two minutes later and that’s the last save Fenstermacher would have to make.

Most of Calvert Hall’s crosses were rejected by the fundamentally-sound defense.

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“They are well-organized and they are in the right spaces,” Zinkand said.

St. Joe senior Aikens feels the bond with his defensive unit.

“We all love each other and we all work together well and no matter we have each other’s back and we leave it all on the field,” Aikens said.

St. Martin likes the way they carry themselves from the practice field to games.

“They train hard and I think it’s showing out on the field too,” said St. Martin, who knows defeating his friend and former Calvert Hall teammate Zinkand is a tall task.

“They are a solid team and Rich is a great coach and they have some very good players, so I’m proud of my guys with the way that they came in here and played.”

The Gaels scored their final goal when Stroud sent a long ball into the box that Brett Callahan challenged with Calvert Hall goalie Jack Langford (six saves).

The ball popped up and Alec Carey drilled it home from eight yards out when he came down.

The Gaels get one day off before they host Gilman and try and avenge a 1-0 loss earlier in the season.

Calvert Hall travels to first-place Curley (11-1-1, 9-0).

“They see that we are down and everybody is coming, so we’ve got to respond,” Zinkand said. “You get one day in between this match and the next match, so we talked about some mental thinks, just trying to be focused and just regroup as quickly as we can for Friday, and see if we can turn this around.”

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