As Friday’s boys soccer showdown between No. 1 Calvert Hall and No. 2 McDonogh stayed deadlocked, it became apparent that it would take something special to decide a winner.
McDonogh’s Kobe Keomany had it in him in overtime.
Collecting a ball just past the midfield line, the sophomore midfielder got past a couple defenders, lost the ball, recovered it and then found the lower left corner of the net from 16 yards.
The goal — the first of his career coming with 2:39 to play in the first overtime period — gave the host Eagles a 2-1 win over the previously unbeaten Cardinals in Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference play.
McDonogh (11-2) improved to 9-2 in league play with 27 points to strengthen its hold on second place. Calvert Hall remains atop the league standing at 10-1-1 with 31 points.
The tireless run and emotion of the win stayed with Keomany well after he put an end to a special regular-season game.
“Just hard work, got to keep going, overtime. This is what we practice for, you just got to keep going,” he said, still catching his breath well after his team’s jubilant celebration. “It was wild. Calvert Hall is such a great team. Our team just bound together, having fun, and that’s all that matters.”
In the teams’ first meeting at Calvert Hall on Aug. 27, the Cardinals came away with a 1-0 win. They picked up where they left off with an early goal Friday.
Just three minutes into play, Ben Madore sent a through ball for Tyler Flynn, who needed a couple dribbles to get behind the Eagles defense and find the right side of the net from 16 yards for a 1-0 advantage.
The game was played on even terms throughout, with the Cardinals creating chances late in the first half but unable to add to their advantage.
It opened the door for the Eagles, who, including the shutout loss in August, needed 127 minutes before solving the Cardinals defense.
A well-executed corner kick tied the game. Seth Malek served a ball to the far post that was headed back across by Jacob Murrell for Trevor Grodsky, who powered it in with a half-volley.
After both teams had their chances to close out the game in overtime against McDonogh goalkeeper Will Anderson (10 saves) and Calvert Hall’s Nate Jones (five saves), Keomany made the home team a winner.
Getting his first taste of varsity action after the Eagles didn’t play last year because of COVID-19 concerns, Keomany has had some growing pains as the season reaches the midway point. The overtime effort flashed his potential.
“He’s a special player,” McDonogh coach Brandon Quaranta said. “He knows this year I’ve been asking more from him and he’s been a little inconsistent as a sophomore. We have high expectations for him and I told him going into the game today he can be a difference for us.”
The Cardinals were left disappointed, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort. The challenge of going through an entire MIAA regular season with no losses is a demanding chore.
“I just told the boys it’s Oct. 1 and we’d feel a lot worse if this was the first week in November, so take it as a learning experience,” Calvert Hall coach Rich Zinkand said. “I know we can play better, obviously, but give McDonogh credit, they played hard, physical and took advantage of opportunities and that’s what this game comes down to.”
Both teams return to league action Monday afternoon. Calvert Hall takes on Loyola Blakefield at Meadowood Regional Park at 3:30 and McDonogh visits Archbishop Curley at 4.
Goals: CH – Flynn; M – Grodsky, Keomany
Assists: CH – Madore; M -- Murrell
Saves: CH – Jones 5; M – Anderson 10
Half: CH, 1-0