So this is how third-ranked Archbishop Curley can play. This is what the Friars have shown only flashes of for much of the season.
Curley's front line showed speed and an assortment of deft moves in dismantling one of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference's better defenses. Dale Rothe and Peter Johnson led a group that was a force in the middle of the field. And the Friars played a tight defense that allowed few chances.
Curley's 5-0 victory yesterday against visiting and sixth-ranked Loyola (10-4-2, 7-3-1) was a reminder of what the Friars (14-1-2, 8-0-2) are capable of doing when working together. It's something Curley coach Pep Perella said he hasn't seen consistently this season, but that's a strategy his Friars must use in their pursuit of defending their league championship.
"We've got a lot of talent but sometimes that's not enough to win," Perella said. "But [yesterday] it was evident we played as a team. We knocked the ball around, got everyone involved and came out on top."
Like its previous meeting with Curley -- which ended in a 0-0 tie -- Loyola controlled much of the play in the first half by running with the Friars. But the Dons missed on several chances in the opening 20 minutes as one shot hit the crossbar and a header by Davin Walz sailed over the goal.
Yet Loyola didn't have the same intensity in the second half, particularly after allowing a goal minutes before halftime, and Curley made the Dons pay.
The Friars converted twice in the first 15 minutes of the second half and outshot Loyola, 7-2, after intermission.
Marco Angelini had his second goal after he settled a ball from Rothe and scored inside the right post to extend Curley's lead to 2-0 in the 47th minute.
George Bakoulas answered eight minutes later, collecting a loose ball inside the box and beating Loyola defender Ryan Madairy, who was standing on the goal line.
Curley's flurry continued into the 62nd minute as sweeper Steve Althoff lined a hard shot into the net off a corner kick from Brandon Quaranta and the Friars led, 4-0.
"We outplayed them in the first half and gave up a goal that really deflated us," said Loyola coach Don Kraft. "Then they flurried on us and we couldn't stop them."
Said Marco Angelini, "We improved a lot from the last game against them to this game. We worked together and finished our chances."
Dons keeper Shawn Huth (five saves) wasn't nearly as sharp as he was in the earlier meeting against Curley, when his nine saves was the difference in the double-overtime game. None of Curley's goals came outside of 8 yards, leaving Huth with little room to move.
"We pressured him a lot and many of our shots were on goal," said Santino Quaranta. "We tried to utilize our outside guys because we knew they would be packed in the middle. We created a lot of chances by cutting the ball back from the lines."