No. 5 Calvert Hall pressured Loyola for much of the game yesterday. The Cardinals outshot the Dons, 19-8, and had numerous scoring opportunities.
The pressure eventually paid off.
A little bit of luck and timing didn't hurt, either.
Calvert Hall was credited with a score when a Loyola defender accidentally knocked the ball into his own goal, and Ryan Lachowicz scored another after the Cardinals took advantage of a dropped ball in the box for a 2-1 victory over host Loyola in a Maryland Scholastic Association Armstrong A Conference Division I soccer game.
Calvert Hall (6-0-1, 5-0), which has a 41-game unbeaten streak, controlled the flow. The Cardinals used their speed and good passing to keep the ball in Loyola's end.
"We put more pressure on them," said Calvert Hall coach Bill Karpovich. "Once we started playing knock the ball down, we played better."
That started happening in the second half. Calvert Hall had just missed on two chances in the half when Greg Gibson tried to cross the ball from the right wing over to Michael Lance near the far post.
Jude Agustin of Loyola (5-2, 4-1) tried to intercept the pass and clear the ball, but it instead flew into the upper-right corner for the first goal 10:20 into the second half.
Karpovich and Loyola coach Jim Claiborne both sort of shrugged off the play.
"If he didn't put it in, I think the Calvert Hall man would have put it in," Karpovich said. "He was ready."
Said Claiborne: "I don't think the game changed much with that."
But it certainly changed with four minutes left when Eric Branham and Lachowicz hooked up to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead.
Loyola goalie Brian Zeller (eight saves) flew out of the goal going for a ball in front. Zeller dropped it, Branham out-fought Loyola defenders and got the ball to Lachowicz, who then drilled it into the net.
Loyola, which did not have many good chances, converted one with 90 seconds left as Jason Rickel took a Dave Hanson pass and scored for the 2-1 final.
Loyola struggled on offense, especially in the first half. The Dons got only shot in the first half. They showed more on offense in the second half, but Claiborne said the lack of time with the ball hurt. "When you don't have the ball enough, it gets frustrating," Claiborne said. "We didn't have the ball enough."
Calvert Hall had the ball often and just missed on several chances. Zeller was a big reason the Cardinals often came up empty. The goalie stopped Chad Piunti from 10 yards about 13 minutes into the game. Zeller later punched away a Trevor Woodward shot later in the half.
The Cardinals turned up the heat in the second half. Lance
curled a shot just wide to the right from the left wing, and Gibson fired the ensuing shot wide left. Moments later, Steve Rottman chipped the ball over the bar. After the first goal, Lance and Ryan Smith both missed on good shots.
"Our kids kept pushing, [but] their kids kept pushing," Claiborne said. "You've got to give credit to Calvert Hall. They're a good team."