Archbishop Curley soccer coach Barry Stitz was stumped for a few seconds when asked which of his players stood out after Monday’s 3-0 home win over defending Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference champion McDonogh.
It was a good kind of stumped and has become the norm this season as the Friars have taken over the No. 1 ranking in the Baltimore-area.
Curley got goals from three players, the midfield set up chances and the back line was sturdy for another complete team effort.
“This team is a little different from the teams we’ve had the past three or four years, when I think maybe teams were keying in on a couple of our keys guys. This year, it’s a lot more by committee,” Stitz said “We got a lot of unsung guys out there doing some dirty work, we got different guys scoring big goals at different times, so the chemistry is very good.”
Curley (11-1-1, 9-0 MIAA A Black Division) has won ten straight and is 11-0-1 since losing its season opener to Pennsylvania-power Haverford. No. 4 McDonogh (8-4-1, 6-3 MIAA A Red) had its five-game winning streak ended.
Stitz was quick to credit senior midfielder Tyler Harry for his fine all-around play.
With 12 minutes left in the first half, Harry sent the ball forward to Jalen Anderson, whose shot was initially blocked by Eagles goalie Connor Smith before deflecting off a defender and into the net for a 1-0 lead.
After the Eagles hit the crossbar on two shots midway through the second half, Harry pounced on a rebound to make it 2-0. Throughout the game, he was mostly assigned to cover McDonogh All-Metro junior forward Richie Nichols and kept him at bay. Bryce Woodward made it 3-0 with 15 minutes to play.
“I think the game was closer than the final score, but I liked the way we played today,” Stitz said. “Winning games like this is good for the ultimate test at the end of the season. You get better by playing really good teams and I was happy about our performance today.”
The three goals the Friars scored epitomized their work this season. The good fortune Anderson enjoyed with the deflection on the first goal came from a timely pass and hard work getting to it.
On the second, Josef Ryan beat a defender and placed a low, hard shot that caused the rebound, with Harry getting to it before a defender. And with the Eagles trailing and pressing for a goal, Woodward made them pay.
“We really wanted to win this one because it’s the only time we’re going to get to see McDonogh before the playoffs. We played very hard and we were clicking today,” Anderson said. “I feel like we all understand that any one of us can score at any moment, and it’s not just one guy that the focus is on. So everyone is trying to play balls in, play unselfish soccer and score goals.”
McDonogh coach Brandon Quaranta didn’t think the final score indicated how close the game was either, pinpointing to the latter stages of the first half and the opening minutes of the second as the difference.
With 5:02 to play in the first half, Nichols found rare space on the right side and sent a heavy shot on goal from 20 yards that Curley goalie Chris Denholm (five saves) kept out with a diving stop.
In a one-minute stretch midway through the second half, Nichols and Vincent Petrera both hit the crossbar on free kicks.
Two minutes later, Harry provided the Friars with the two-goal cushion.
“We had a few moments there to draw level, 1-1, and we didn’t,” Quaranta said. “We just missed a couple that in my opinion should be goals. And then at that point, we’re trying to open up and get a goal, and to their credit, they went down there end and finished a chance.”
Goals: C — Anderson, Harry, Woodward. Assists: C — Harry, Ryan. Saves: M — Smith 9; C — Denholm 5. Half: C, 1-0.
No. 14 Severna Park 4, Southern-AA 0: Bennett Jefferds (two goals, one assist) and Jay Pierce (one goal, one assist) led the Falcons (6-3-2) in Anne Arundel County play.
No. 15 Annapolis 3, Meade 0: Junior midfielder Sean Johanson made good on Annapolis’ seventh corner to light the Panthers way over Meade (7-4), pushing Annapolis’ winning streak to three.
Senior forward Arles Alvarado and junior midfielder Anderson Iriarte Herrera also scored for the Panthers.
Annapolis (8-1) continues to lay waste in its conquering path; since falling to Severna Park on Sept. 24, the Panthers have scored 13 goals.
— Katherine Fominykh
South River 1, North County 0: South River captain Drew Peterson scored early in the second half to lead the Seahawks to a 1-0 victory. Freshman Jay Jenkins earned his fourth shutout of the season with seven saves for South River.
No. 1 Archbishop Spalding 3, Perry Hall 0: Ashley Tutas, Courtney Corcoran and Faith Sadeghian scored goals to lead the Cavaliers (9-0-1) past the defending Class 4A state champion Gators in non-league play.
Broadneck 2, Old Mill 0: Eva Mowery recorded a goal and an assist and Annika Marquez tallied the other goal as the Bruins shut out the Patriots.
Skylar Flewellyn was credited with an assist and Sam Hoffman made two saves for Broadneck (5-4-2). Celia Metzger made eight saves for Old Mill (7-2-1).
South River 8, North County 0: Elizabeth Gleeson tallied two goals and two assists and Ashley Tarjick netted two goals to deliver the blanking of the knights, earning the Seahawks their ninth shutout of the season.
Madeline Lenkart added a goal and two assists, Kylie Lopez, Grace Casper and Amanda Parmele also scored, and Faith Cosgrove registered an assist for South River (9-0-2).
South Carroll 2, North Harford 0: Peyton Golueke and Sydney Hill each scored, and Grace Oetken notched an assist. Paige Abbott made eight saves in goal for the Cavaliers (7-1).
Reservoir 3, Glenelg 2, OT: Reservoir (3-2-3) jumped out to a 2-0 lead before Glenelg (5-6) roared back to tie the game with two set-piece goals in the final 20 minutes of regulation. In overtime, Tessa Cinotti scored the game-winning goal off a through ball by Monica Prince to clinch the victory for the Gators.
Broadneck 3, Old Mill 1: Jess Todaro scored two goals and Julia Harrison had a goal and two assists to lead the Bruins past the Patriots. Sammy Dupcak added an assist for Broadneck. Shelby Kingston scored the goal off an assist from Kaiya Sabur and Patricia Sanchez made 16 saves for Old Mill.
Severna Park 3, Spalding 0: Kristen Murphy had 17 service points, including five aces, along with three kills and two blocks, while Siena DeCicco contributed 30 assists and seven digs as the Falcons delivered a 26-24, 25-21, 25-15 sweep of the Cavaliers.
Ally Fletcher provided 13 kills, three aces and two blocks, Skyler Sale had 11 kills and Sydney Watts pitched in with 23 digs for Severna Park (6-2).
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Baltimore Sun staff contributed to this article.