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Curley soccer starts fast, holds off Loyola Blakefield for 3-2 win

The Archbishop Curley soccer team got all of its offense early Saturday against visiting Loyola Blakefield, using a four-minute stretch to shockingly produce three goals.

For much of the remaining time, the Dons pressured relentlessly, but the Friars defense hunkered down.

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Brady Geho scored two goals and goalie Michael Caulkins finished with seven saves as host Curley held off Loyola Blakefield, 3-2.

Curley (4-2) improved to 3-2 in the Catholic League, while Loyola fell to 1-4.

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“Credit to Loyola, they kept fighting to the end, but our boys — you know a little bit of grit was needed today,” Curley assistant coach Mike Griffith said.

The Dons settled into the game quickly and had the better of the play until the Friars earned a corner kick in the 10th minute. Anthony Schlee headed home Brandon Holy’s kick aimed at the far post to claim the early advantage. Geho took over during the next three minutes, scoring 30 seconds after Schlee’s goal and one-timing a through ball from Mason Landreth to make it 3-0 with 27:15 to play in the half.

The Dons cut the deficit to 3-2 on a goal from Matias DeJesus in the first half and another from Matt Dixon with 33:39 to play, but the Friars wouldn’t budge the rest of the way.

Curley, which got strong play from center backs Holy and Landon Berger in addition to Caulkin’s performance in net, handled several anxious moments.

Caulkins said the final one was the most stressful. With 23 seconds left, the Dons had a free kick from midfield with everybody crashing the penalty area. But Caulkins found a clear path to the ball sent in by Dominic Caltabiano and was able to grab it.

“The last 30 seconds was probably the worst,” Caulkins said. “When they have a free kick [at midfield] and every single player is in there, you just have to keep your cool and get the ball out when you can.”

Caulkins had to keep his cool plenty after the Dons cut the lead to one. He came out aggressively to save a shot from DeJesus on the right side with 23:25 to play and turned aside Nick Pietila’s point-blank strike from 14 yards minutes later.

“Mike made some big saves in there — big-time saves today from him, and that’s expected from him now,” Griffith said. “He’s been on varsity for three years, so he’s been through it with us. And then our back line and midfield held steady.”

The frustration continued for the Dons, who outplayed the Friars before and after Curley’s three-goal outburst, but to no avail.

“You can’t make silly mistakes in the back and then at the end of the day, you have to take care of your chances — everything in between has been good,” Loyola coach Lee Tschantret said. “So that’s kind of the crux of where we are now and we need to iron them out.”

Curley returns to its home field Monday to take on first-place Mount Saint Joseph (5-0) at 2:30 p.m. Loyola was scheduled to host John Carroll, but that game has been canceled after the Patriots suspended play because of the recent spike of COVID-19 cases in Maryland. The Dons will host Archbishop Spalding at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.

Goals: LB – DeJesus, Dixon; AC – Schlee, Geho 2 Assists: LB – Pietila; AC – Holy, Schlee, Landreth Saves: LB – Eckman 5; Caulkins 7 Half: AC, 3-1

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