While most every MIAA A soccer game is fiercely competitive, the Reif Cup — in front of a packed crowd on a Friday night – brings an entirely different feel.
“I’ve been here four years and I’ve circled this game when the schedule first comes out – that just tells a lot about the meaning of this game for both teams, the schools and alumni. And to get a big win is just special in my senior year,” Dragisics said.
The Friars showed they were primed for a strong performance from the start.
Three minutes into play, junior midfielder Dylan Sloan hit a blistering shot from 20 yards that Cardinals goalie Spencer Nattans had to make a diving save on.
They had another shot go just wide before earning a corner kick with 24 minutes left in the half.
Senior midfielder Thunlwyn Garcia served an ideal ball in the middle that Dragisics pounced on, finding the left corner for the 1-0 lead.
Less than four minutes later, junior Kenny Clapp scored off a feed from Sloan to make it 2-0.
Unable to find much time or space on the ball throughout the first half, the Cardinals appeared back in the game when Ben Bender finished a chance to cut the lead to 2-1 with 28 minutes left in regulation.
But the Friars answered two minutes later on an own goal – Alex Martinez Herrero’s shot hitting off the post and then bouncing in off a Calvert Hall defender – and then Herrero making it 4-1 with 21:52 left. Bryce Woodward closed the scoring with Clapp adding his second assist to go with his goal in the first half.
“It was great to put together a complete performance tonight on both sides of the ball and that was really the difference,” Stitz said. “For Anthony to step up was big – that first goal is critical in a game like this because I think it settles everybody down.”
Calvert Hall coach Rich Zinkand, whose Cardinals fell to 4-3 and 3-3 in league play, was disappointed with how his team handled the big stage.
“To make the effort to get back into it [with the second-half goal] and I don’t know exactly how much time, but it wasn’t very long before we gave up that third goal. It just wasn’t good enough plain and simple,” Zinkand said. “Credit to Curley, they came out with a ton of energy and we just didn’t handle it very well. No excuses, they deserved the win and the scoreboard indicated that.”