Tagged the team to beat from the start, the No. 1 McDonogh boys soccer team impressively stayed the season-long course with a dynamic offense and unflappable defense.
One last complete team effort was a necessity in yesterday's Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship game against defending league champ Archbishop Curley.
Senior midfielder Tyler Fiorito provided the game-winner in the 59th minute, and the Eagles' defense was at its stingiest with its program-best 20th shutout for a 3-0 win in a championship game that was much closer than the final score indicated.
Chris Agorsor and Peter Franklin added goals in the final minute as the Eagles captured their fourth league championship and finished with a 20-1-3 mark.
"This is very satisfying. It's good knowing when you set a target and you accomplish it - a difficult one - when you get that, it feels very good. You're nothing but rewarded, and you're happy because you know you didn't do it alone. My team's the greatest right now," said Agorsor, a senior All-Metro forward.
While the Eagles' defense was doing its part, the offense was not able to break through until the midway point of the second half. All-Metro senior midfielder Andrew Bulls cleanly struck a direct kick from 20-plus yards that bounced off the chest of Curley goalie John Connolly with Fiorito streaking in unmarked to slot home the rebound.
"All year, Bulls has been really good with his free kicks. We're charging in every time and this time it bounced off [Connolly], and I was there to put it back in. I was pretty ecstatic - there's not much more you can ask for," said Fiorito, who finished the season with five goals.
McDonogh senior goalie Tom Caso (three saves) had only one tough stop the rest of the way, making a diving save on a shot by Lucas Winters from 14 yards. Sweeper Jake Levin and a defense that allowed only five goals all season took care of the rest.
"It's a very organized defense, and that's what we pride ourselves on," said Levin, one of seven seniors. "It's our senior year, and we wanted to go out with something special - not only the MIAA championship but also breaking some records along the way."
After a disheartening 2-0 loss at McDonogh in a game in which they were outplayed three weeks ago, the Friars (20-6) did everything they could to defend their championship.
"We were a different team today," Curley coach Barry Stitz said "We made a transformation in the last three weeks, committed ourselves and I think it was a heck of an effort today. Up until the 79th minute, it's a 1-0 game, and for most of the game, we put ourselves in a position to win. It just didn't work out in the end."
Boys' Latin 1, Friends 0 -- Boys' Latin six-year coach Don Rickels stepped down a winner as his son, a senior forward, scored 1:20 into overtime. It's the fifth B Conference championship for the Lakers (15-5-1) and their fourth under Rickels. The game-winner from D.J. Rickels came from an improbable angle as he beat a defender to reach the end line on the left side before sending a ball across that hit the far post before going in. "I just went one on one to the baseline, hit it left-footed, and I really don't even know - it just hit the post and banked in," he said. "We knew if we give Friends enough chances, they'll come back because they never give up, so you got to hit them early, so that's what we did. This is for my dad; he's my coach. It's been a great year for all the seniors who gave nothing but the best." It was the fifth-straight time the teams played into overtime, dating to last season. Friends ended the season with a 15-4-1 record.
Lutheran 3, Chapelgate Christian 2 -- Kayode Sanni, David Crotty and John Rattray scored and junior goalie Aimee Chotikul finished with 18 saves to lead the Saints (11-7) to their second C Conference crown. With all the scoring in the second half, the Saints jumped to a 2-0 lead with goals from Sanni and Rattray before Crotty finished off the game-winner off a feed from Mike Steppe, which, at the time, gave the winners a 3-1 lead. Lutheran avenged two one-goal losses to Chapelgate during the regular season. The Yellow Jackets, who earned the top seed with an 11-1 league record during the regular season, finished with a 17-4 email@example.com