The "Dog Pound" retired as a winner yesterday.
Archbishop Curley High School's athletic grounds are scheduled for a rearrangement, and the quaint soccer field where the Friars have been almost invincible (31-0-1 over four years) will be no more next season.
"We call it the Dog Pound because people come in here to get pounded," said senior midfielder Mike Bailey.
Top-seeded Curley's sendoff was a 2-0 victory over fourth-seeded Gilman in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association semifinals that advanced the Friars into tomorrow's final at UMBC.
Second-ranked Curley (17-1-1) didn't exactly pound the Greyhounds, who upset Calvert Hall, 2-1, in the regular-season finale Tuesday.
But the home team was in control of the match throughout after sophomore Giuliano Celenza scored an early goal on a low crossing shot after a feed from Roberto Angelini.
Bailey scored the second goal with an assist from Steve Ball after breaking away from the defense. He beat Gilman goalkeeper Noah Gallico one on one.
Gilman (12-7-1) picked up the pace in the second half, becoming more aggressive offensively, but it was too late.
"They're the class of the league," said Gilman coach John Tucker. "In the second half, we played as hard as we have all year, but in the first half we lacked a little intensity and that cost us."
Gilman's John Jachman put the ball in the net with 12 minutes to go in the game, apparently trimming the gap to one goal. But the effort was nullified by a hands penalty and the Greyhounds never seriously threatened again.
The victory was the 100th in the eight-year career of Friars coach Pep Perrella, whose school will be making its third straight appearance in the championship game for the first time since 1970.
Curley has a 32-game nonlosing streak at home and a 34-game nonlosing streak against Maryland opposition.
The core of Perrella's team -- seniors Bailey, Ball, Ryan Hax and Greg Loftus -- is 50-3-2 in three years on the varsity.
Another key senior, Shawn Pasko, was the unsung hero in yesterday's game, again effectively checking Gilman's top scoring threat, Corey Popham, and goalie Brad Bush made two outstanding second-half saves.