On the final day of the MIAA A Conference soccer regular season, the league continues to be a wide open mess after the first two results of the day, victories by Loyola Blakefield and Archbishop Curley, two teams battling each other for the fifth playoff seed.
At Blakefield, the Dons (8-8-0, 7-7-0) continued McDonogh’s late season misery, as they handed the Eagles their second straight loss, 2-1. McDonogh (16-5-1, 9-4-1) now has just one conference win in its last six league games, a stunning downward spiral after the Eagles won their first eight conference games.
Loyola’s scores came from Jeremey DeGraffenreidt and Mike Distler, while Elliott Andelman and Jamie Dubyoski had assists.
“We came out with a lot of intensity today and played a complete 80 minutes,” said Loyola’s Joe Taylor. “Everyone stepped up and we look forward to taking this momentum into the playoffs.”
Earlier this season, McDonogh defeated Loyola, 6-0.
Both teams will not know their playoff seeding until the Gilman/Archbishop Spalding and Mount St. Joseph/Calvert Hall games are completed tonight, and all necessary tie-breakers are sorted out. But, regardless of what happens Loyola will open the playoffs at Calvert Hall, either as a six playing the third seed or as a fifth seed meeting the fourth seed.
Curley (9-9-1, 7-7-0) is in the same holding pattern after its 4-2 win over John Carroll, in Bel Air on Thursday.
The Friars received goals from Grant McAvan, on a 20-yard free kick, and Steve Anderson, on a penalty kick, as well as a pair of goals from Brad Warenciz. Warenciz’s first score was unassisted and it gave the Friars a 3-2 lead in the first half. In the second half, Kenny Duckworth played a beautiful through ball which Warenciz finished for the final margin of victory.
Curley and Loyola split a pair of games over the last week, so the tie will be settled by the positions of the teams above them. Both were swept by Gilman and both split with McDonogh. Thus the tie will be settled by the positioning of Calvert Hall and Mount St. Joseph.
If Calvert Hall defeats St. Joe, it will force a three-way tie for second with the Gaels and McDonogh. In that scenario the tie-breakers would place McDonogh second (3-1 head-to-head among the three), Calvert Hall third (2-2) and St. Joe (1-3) fourth. That would make Curley the fifth seed and send them to St. Joe for the quarterfinals.
If St. Joe wins, it could finish first in the league, if Gilman were upset, but it would place no worse than second. McDonogh would then finish third outright and Calvert Hall fourth. That placement would favor Loyola and drop Curley to sixth seed and send them to McDonogh to open the playoffs.
Check back later tonight and VSN will sort it all out for you.