The Calvert Hall soccer team earned The Baltimore Sun’s preseason No. 1 ranking based on having an experienced group of players that have spent plenty of quality time together.
The chemistry is showing.
On Friday, the Cardinals got three goals from sophomore Ryan Belal, a one-goal, two-assist performance from junior Cody Angelini and at least a goal or an assist from six others in rolling past visiting Gilman, 8-1.
Calvert Hall improved to 5-0-1 in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference, having piled up 18 goals in its past three wins.
In Friday’s victory, the Cardinals quickly worked balls out of the midfield, connected in the offensive end and finished chances with precision. They opened with the game’s first three goals and took a 3-1 advantage into halftime before wearing down the Greyhounds, who lost for the first time after a 3-0 start.
“We know how to play as a team and we all have the same goal, which is to win every game we can and eventually win a championship,” said Angelini, a junior midfielder.
“As long as we share the ball, everyone is happy on the field and everyone wants to contribute to a goal.”
Angelini opened the scoring in the 14th minute, finishing from 12 yards on the right side after a quick connection from Rocco Pastore in tight quarters.
Rich Monath (two goals) made it 2-0 with 17:41 left in the first half, chasing down a through ball from Angelini and getting past Gilman goalkeeper Ethan Chodnicki to finish the chance from a tough angle on the left side.
After Belal scored his first goal five minutes later, the Greyhounds missed a chance on an open net but broke through shortly after with Josh Melancon making it 3-1 two minutes before the break.
The Cardinals didn’t allow the visitors to build any momentum, however, with Monath and Belal scoring to start a five-goal splurge in the second half.
“It’s great to get a hat trick and seeing the team jell together — I couldn’t have done it without the boys,” Belal said. “Everyone is working together, moving the ball and breaking lines — that’s one of our strengths. We’re really starting to come into what we’re meant to be and it’s only up from here.”
After allowing just one goal in wins against Loyola Blakefield, Boys’ Latin and nonconference opponent Landon, the Greyhounds had a difficult time matching up with the Cardinals, who made good use of their big field to open up play.
“Our margin for error over here was very slim,” Gilman coach Jon Seal said. “We missed an open goal right before the half — it could have been a 3-2 game and a completely different atmosphere. But the credit needs to go to them and we need to regroup and stop hanging our heads. A lot of how we looked today was because of Calvert Hall, so I give them all the credit. We’re going to have practice tomorrow and rebound to get ready for Curley on Tuesday.”
Calvert Hall doesn’t return to action until next Friday when it hosts St. Paul’s at 7 p.m. The Greyhounds will try to bounce back on Tuesday afternoon with a home game against Archbishop Curley set for 4:15.
Goals: G – Melancon; CH – Belal 3, Monath 2, Angelini, Flynn, Henneman
Assists: G – C. Capodanno; CH – Angelini 2, Henneman, Peters, Pastore, Madore
Saves: G – Chodnicki 4; CH – Jones 3, Langford 1
Half: CH, 3-1