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Calvert Hall, Loyola Blakefield claim MIAA A soccer quarterfinal wins

For the Calvert Hall soccer team to stay on even terms at Mount Saint Joseph for 100 minutes with the season on the line spoke volumes, considering the Gaels were three goals better in the teams’ regular-season meeting three weeks ago.

But the visiting Cardinals did even better when Tuesday’s Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference quarterfinal came down to penalty kicks.

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Calvert Hall proved precise on all six of its needed PK’s — Ben Bender, Nick Long, Luke Ferrarese, Stephen Welsh, Michael Gisreal and Payton Madore stepping up — and when the home team had its sixth chance go over the crossbar, the No. 7 Cardinals were moving on to the semifinal round with a 2-1 overtime win over the No. 3 Gaels — 6-5 in the shootout round.

Calvert Hall, seeded third in the Red Division with a 9-6-1 mark, will visit No. 1 Archbishop Curley (15-2-1) at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday in the semifinals.

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Advancing Tuesday took the expected difficult challenge, and the Cardinals proved ready.

“We lost to them 3-0 at home and a lot of people were down on us; told us that that’s not Calvert Hall soccer. So we’ve gotten better over the last couple weeks and today was just an all-out effort from our guys,” Calvert Hall coach Rich Zinkand said.

“We have a large number of seniors and obviously they don’t want their season to end. You never know what you’re going to get until your backs are against the wall after 100 minutes and then you go to PK’s, and the boys just came through.”

The Cardinals started fast to set an important playoff tone, and Bender, who helped clinch their playoff spot with two goals against John Carroll in last week’s regular-season finale, stood out again with an opening goal in the 11th minute.

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After Hayden Lim had his initial shot from the left side blocked and come right back to him, he quickly dropped it back to Bender, who one-timed a left-footed strike from 20-plus yards for the early advantage.

The Gaels (13-4-1) showed added urgency early in the second half and quickly leveled the game at 1 when Miles Lam headed home a cross sent in by Van Danielson just six minutes into play.

The home team had a couple quality chances that weren’t converted — one late in regulation and a second in overtime — before the game was decided on penalty kicks.

While all the Cardinals had clean strikes on their penalty-kick tries, Cardinals goalie Andrew Levis got a hand on three Mount Saint Joseph attempts that ended up going in. After Madore scored to make it 6-5, the Gaels’ bid to once again tie sailed just high over the crossbar.

“Unbelievable,” said Zinkand. “We had a couple guys that were out there for 100 minutes. Payton Madore got in maybe the last minute of the game, but he’s confident taking PK’s. Just picked a spot — calm, cool, collected and then he put it in a corner.”

The win sets up a rubber match against Curley on Thursday. The Friars beat Calvert Hall, 3-1, on Sept. 6 and then the Cardinals handed them their only league loss for the Reif Cup on Oct. 11 — a 3-2 overtime game.

Bender, an All-Metro midfielder/forward who was dangerous every time he touched the ball Tuesday, was excited about Tuesday’s effort and looking forward to another big challenge on Thursday.

“It’s awesome. It’s just another opportunity to be out with the guys that I love hanging out with every day,” he said. “It’s definitely going to take another big effort from us. [Curley] will be prepared and they’ll be ready over there, so we’ll need to come up with a plan and I think we’ll be OK.”

Mount Saint Joseph coach Mike St. Martin, who saw so many chances go just wide or over for his side after the game was tied, said it was just one of those days of soccer that wasn’t meant to be, also crediting Calvert Hall’s performance.

“I told [the team] after the game, all you can ask is to leave it out there on the field and they did,” he said. “The effort was there, at halftime I just said ‘Have no regrets’ and I don’t think we have any regrets as far as the way we played and the effort we put forth.”

Goals: CH – Bender; MSJ - Lam. Assists: CH – Lim; MSJ -- Danielson. Saves: CH – Levis 6; MSJ -- Fenstermacher 4. Half: CH, 1-0

No. 5 Loyola Blakefield 2, No. 15 Gilman 1: The host Dons (11-4-2) got an overtime goal from Kwaku Marfo-Sarbeng to rally past Gilman in an MIAA A quarterfinal.

Loyola will travel to defending champion and No. 2 McDonogh in Thursday’s semifinal — a rematch of last year’s title game.

After the Greyhounds (9-8) took a 1-0 first half lead when Jack Stuzin converted a penalty kick in the 31st minute, the Dons pressured for much of the remaining game to come back for the win.

They broke through in the 66th minute when Julian Schmugge took a pass from Dom Caltabiano and beat a defender to win the left side before finding the far post to level play at 1.

Despite a brilliant performance from Gilman goalie Grant Farley, who finished with 10 saves, the Dons prevailed with Marfo-Sarbeng finding the upper-right corner following a feed from Evan Onate in the first 10-minute overtime period.

The Dons get another crack at McDonogh, which beat them in penalty kicks for last year’s championship and then 4-0 this season on Sept. 25.

Goals: G -- Karakousis; LB – Schmugge, Marfo-Sarbeng. Assists: LB – Caltabiano, Onate. Saves: G – Farley 10; LB – Eckman 3. Half: G, 1-0

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