Mount Saint Joseph All-Metro junior forward Tyquan Stroud has scored enough big varsity goals that missing a penalty kick in the opening minute of an important game isn’t going to drop his confidence.
So when it happened on Friday against defending Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference champion McDonogh, he shrugged it off, kept working and waited for his next chance.
It came via a free kick from 25 yards with six minutes to go in the first half. His heavy shot deflected off the wall and went in, giving the No. 7 Gaels a lead they confidently protected for a 2-0 home win over the No. 3 Eagles.
Junior Owen Anglin provided the second goal with 14 minutes to play for Mount Saint Joseph (2-1, 1-1 MIAA A Red Division).
McDonogh (3-3, 1-2) was without starting midfielder Richie Nichols and Jackson Ruckman due to injuries.
Two weeks in and it’s clear that more than most other MIAA A seasons, whichever team brings more effort and execution on a given day will get the win.
The Gaels were that team on Friday.
“We knew we were going against probably our toughest opponent, McDonogh, who we’ve lost to every single time in my four years. So this was our first win and it was huge for us,” said senior captain Dmitri Jordan, who dominated at left back to set a positive tone. “I told my back line that we were going to need a solid performance – not just from the back line but also the midfield. The midfield controlled the entire game, our forwards finished a couple and we got the job done.”
A hand ball gave the Gaels a penalty kick and chance to take hold of the game in its opening minute, but McDonogh goalie Connor Smith made a diving save to his right to keep the game scoreless.
The Gaels could have hung their heads and allowed the Eagles to gain momentum or stayed persistent.
The home team continued to surge and Stroud made good on another set piece try late in the half.
“I missed [the penalty kick] and kind of laughed it off because I knew I was going to get another chance eventually in the game. And I knew I had to finish the next one and I did,” he said.
McDonogh’s best chance to draw even came with 16 minutes left in the second half when Braden Peacock sent a free kick in front that Brent Hollenberger headed on goal with Mount Saint Joseph goalie Joel Fenstermacher right there for the save.
Two minutes later, Anglin scored from 12 yards when he one-timed a ball from Miles Lam to give the Gaels the 2-0 lead.
“This is huge, definitely a big boost for our confidence. But like [coach Mike St. Martin] said, this is just the beginning for the rest of the season. It’s our second game and we have a lot more to bring to the show,” Jordan said.
McDonogh coach Brandon Quaranta saw some good stretches from his Eagles, but not enough sustained play to beat a quality opponent on the road. After playing non-conference games on Sunday and Monday, they’ll have a nine-day layoff to get healthy and work on things before returning to league play at Loyola Blakefield on Sept. 25.
“We have to learn from this,” he said. “I think some guys are getting some really important experience right now that are going to be role guys for us in October. You can’t tell a guy how hard it is to come and play Mount Saint Joe on the road, they have to experience it and I think some guys learned today how difficult it is. We’ll be better for it.”