After Saturday's loss to second-ranked Calvert Hall, Mount St. Joseph coach Mike Dolan said his team needed a confidence builder.
Yesterday at Wilde Lake, the 11th-ranked Gaels got it.
On a day so cold that Dolan played every player on the roster just to keep them from getting numb, his Gaels responded with a 6-1 win.
Mount St. Joseph (10-3-1) controlled the ball on offense for most of the game, outshooting Wilde Lake, 17-3. It was exactly the kind of game that can rejuvenate a down-on-its-luck team.
"After Saturday, we needed this," said Dolan, whose team lost, 5-1, to the Cardinals. "I know [the players] think they didn't play well, so they wanted to prove they could still do it. With the playoffs starting in two weeks, now is the time we have to peak."
Steve Mutcuk, the area's top point scorer, made sure of that with a pair of goals and intense play throughout. His grounder from 20 yards out 7:04 into the game gave the Gaels a 1-0 lead.
"I was trying to dribble around a couple guys, and I just saw an opening," said Matcuk. "We've been playing a little lackadaisical the past few games, so we wanted to just come out and put them away early."
Gusty winds helped St. Joe in the first half, blowing every kicked ball toward the Wildecats goal. Kenny Angyelof and Mike Bennett added goals before halftime to give the Gaels a 3-0 lead.
"The wind was a big factor," said Wilde Lake coach Dave Nesbitt, whose team was outshot, 10-0, in the first half. "I told our guys at halftime that they were getting embarrassed, but I thought we could get back in it with the wind at our backs."
Wilde Lake (1-6-1) played better in the second half and scored its only goal midway through on Kwesi Ewool-Robotham's penalty kick after St. Joe had been called for obstruction.
But the Gaels were just too much. Maury LaPointe, Eric Strouse and Matcuk scored in the second half to put the Wildecats away.
With 13 underclassmen on the roster, and just five seniors, lopsided losses aren't unexpected for Wilde Lake, which defeated St. Joe, 3-0, a year ago.
In their past six games, five losses and a tie, the Wildecats have been outscored, 21-1.
For the Gaels, the only disappointment was that they didn't score more when they had the opportunity early in the game.
"We should have scored six in the first half," said Dolan. "Sometimes playing with the wind makes you overanxious."