Scored on twice in a two-minute stretch in the middle of the first half at No. 3 McDonogh, the Loyola Blakefield soccer team could have buckled Tuesday.
After cutting the deficit to 2-1, the No. 2 Dons pushed for the equalizer for much of the second half only to be frustrated with scoring chances going everywhere but the back of the net.
But with less than a minute to play in regulation, they believed the tying goal would come. It did, and another one followed in overtime — all three goals coming from senior John Peterson — as Loyola claimed a 3-2 win over the defending Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference champion Eagles in Owings Mills.
Loyola remained perfect (10-0, 9-0) atop the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference, while McDonogh fell to 7-1-1 overall and in the league.
“Coach Lee [Tschantret] told us at half that this is what championship teams are made of. We just can’t give up,” said Peterson, who has seven goals this season. “So we were able to tie it at the end of regulation and took it to them in overtime to get a really good win today.”
The game was filled with scoring chances, and the Dons did most of the pressing after McDonogh took a 2-0 lead on goals from Andrew Privett and Mason Christian midway through the first half.
Peterson, who gave the Eagles defense fits all game on the right side of the field, made the difference.
He cut in front of McDonogh goalie Kieran Baskett (10 saves) to knock in a cross from Cole Hendrix with 10:17 left in the half to give the Dons something to build on.
Loyola had several free kicks it wasn’t unable to convert in the second half until Matt Lala’s long throw-in was flicked to the far post by Ben Gallagher for Peterson, who placed a shot inside the near post with 46 seconds left in regulation.
Energized by the momentum, it was another set piece started by Lala — a free kick from 35 yards — that once again found Peterson with 5:28 left in the first overtime period.
“He played a great ball in and I was on the back post, found myself free and I was able to head it home,” Peterson said. “It was a great feeling, a great game, we stayed undefeated, stayed on top, so it’s a great win for us.”
Ranked No. 1 in the Baltimore area during the preseason and throughout the first five weeks, the Eagles rattled off seven straight league wins before falling to No. 3 after a 1-1 tie at Gilman on Friday. On Tuesday, they found themselves defending more than ever, and late breakdowns proved costly.
“Credit to Loyola, down two goals on the road and they came back to win the game,” McDonogh coach Brandon Quaranta said. “We weren’t good the last 15 minutes of the game, for sure. But in the end, if we defend the last long throw we win the game and we just didn’t. So it’s a credit to them for making a play.”
Both teams play Thursday with McDonogh hosting Calvert Hall and Loyola visiting Curley before playing each other again Saturday at Loyola at noon.
Goals: LB — Peterson 3, M – Privett, Christian. Assists: LB — Hendrix, Gallagher, Lala; M — Nichols. Saves: LB – Milmoe 8; M – Baskett 10. Half: M, 2-1