Calvert Hall and Archbishop Curley began a new chapter in their 47-year-old soccer rivalry Thursday night, playing their first game under the lights.
The moment was not lost on either program — dozens of alumni were scattered among the estimated 1,000 at the Cardinals' Paul Angelo Russo Stadium. The Cardinals also rose to the occasion as five seniors scored goals in a convincing 5-0 victory in the vital Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A conference matchup. Calvert Hall also avenged a 1-0 loss to Curley earlier in the season.
"Every single year, no matter where we are in the standings, the Curley-Calvert Hall game is a big game," Calvert Hall coach Andy Moore said. "We felt that we let our fans down and ourselves down by losing to them earlier in the season. The guys were committed the last month to getting better. To win tonight, under the lights and with this big crowd, was a little extra."
The Cardinals improved their playoff position by improving to 4-3-1 in the conference, while the Friars fell to 2-5 but still cling to the final postseason spot. Calvert Hall outshot the Friars, 17-8.
The Cardinals' offense was led by Zach Wenger, who gave them a 1-0 lead when slotted the ball just inside the far post in the 25th minute. Curley created most of its chances off free kicks in the offensive third, but Calvert Hall goalie John Dillon (seven saves) was able to grab crosses that traveled through the penalty area.
"It's always a great win in front of your home crowd, especially with the lights," Wenger said. "It was just a great atmosphere."
Michael Dunbar increased the lead to 2-0 in the 51st minute when he collected a long clear at midfield, pushed the ball by two defenders and scored just inside the penalty area. Goals by Ioannis Sarioglou and Connor Walsh in a span of two minutes midway through the second half put the game out of reach. Brayan Ruiz then added to the score off a close-range rebound with 15 minutes remaining.
"The goal for the season is to make the playoffs and get better each game," said Curley coach Barry Stitz, who has only two seniors on his roster. "I'm disappointed with tonight's result, but we have a young team. A lot of our kids haven't played in this type of atmosphere."