The Loyola Blakefield soccer team confronted a challenging week ahead with an early goal against host Calvert Hall on Monday.
Junior Julian Schmugge scored in the sixth minute and it helped lay out a textbook road performance.
The No. 3 Dons controlled play for the majority of the first half, had answers on defense when the No. 8 Cardinals pushed early in the second, and scrapped for a late goal to seal a 2-0 win in steady rain.
Senior Matt Lala scored the insurance goal after earning an assist on the first as the Dons (2-0) won a tough Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference opener. They will next host defending league champion and No. 1 McDonogh on Wednesday and visit No. 5 Archbishop Curley on Friday.
Getting a strong performance against the Cardinals (2-1, 1-1 MIAA A) was exactly what the Dons wanted to set the tone for the big week.
“It was good. I think for a first [league] game and haven’t played in like ten days in tough conditions — I think the ball just kept hopping off everyone’s foot for both teams — so I think in tough slippery conditions, it was good. Any time you can get three points on the road in this league is a great day,” Loyola Blakefield coach Lee Tschantret said.
In the game’s most important minutes, the Dons showed they wanted it more and it was most evident with the two goals they scored. Schmugge got to Lala’s cross first, scoring from just inside the penalty area on a shot that was deflected into the corner.
“It was great because I think it was within the first ten minutes, so it really set the tone for us,” Schmugge said. “It gave us a nice base to build on.”
Unable to get a shot on goal in the first half, the Cardinals pressed early in the second but couldn’t capitalize. Their best chance came when junior Luke Ferrarese cleanly hit a shot from 16 yards that Dons goalie Pat Milmoe made a diving save on in the 47th minute. Getting strong support in front of him, he would only need to make one other save before Lala got deep in the box and beat everybody to a loose ball to make it 2-0 with 16:55 left to play.
The Cardinals, who visit upstart John Carroll on Wednesday before hosting No. 1 McDonogh on Friday, got a 10-save performance from senior goalie Spencer Nattans.
Coach Rich Zinkand applauded Nattans for his work to keep the Cardinals in the game, but the poor start and lack of chances proved too much to overcome.
“We didn’t start out the way I expected us to — just a little slow to begin the game this afternoon,” he said. “I thought we started the second half well, created some opportunities but you’ve got to take advantage of some of those.”
Goals: LB — Schmugge, Lala Assists: LB — Lala Saves: LB — Milmoe 2; CH — Nattans 10 Half: LB, 1-0