Michael Gamble and Juilan Griggs each scored for McDonogh as the No. 2 Eagles defeated a scrappy St. Paul’s team 2-0 on on a hot summer day, Thursday in Brooklandville.

McDonogh, which defeated Paul VI (VA), 4-0, earlier in the week, is now 2-0.

The Crusaders stifling defense matched the thermometer, as the heat index on the turf soared past 100 degrees.

“We tried to play a defensive game, and we played well,”  said St. Paul’s goalie Kevin DelMonte.

After several seasons in the MIAA A Conference the Crusaders moved to the B Conference last fall and made it all the way to championship game where the lost on penalty kicks to Annapolis Area Christian.  Despite the move the Crusaders played McDonogh tough in the opening week for a second straight year.

St. Paul’s coach Greg Schreiner echoed those sentiments of his goalkeeper.

“We did a nice job of controlling their offense, but we just couldn’t finish on the other end.”  

Eagle coach Steve Nichols used both Matt Barth and Matt Sanchez in the nets as the Eagles registered another shutout.

The high-powered McDonogh offense was held to one goal in the first 40 minutes of play, and they had to fight hard to add to their lead in the second half.  Gamble scored the first goal at 21:12 in the first half off a free kick.

“We were able to execute the free kick, the same way we work on it in practice,” said Gamble, who is considered to be one of the best strikers in the country. “I run to the ball and get it back, and (on the first goal) I was able to finish.”

Julian Griggs, another top flight McDongh performer, gave the Eagles a cushion when he footed one in midway through the second half.

“I pushed it by a couple of guys, did a one-two with George Campbell, and tucked it in,” said the talented senior.

Griggs praised the Crusaders. “Today was a bit of a challenge. St. Pauls packed it in a lot, but we managed to get two goals and get the win.”

The Eagles also made it to the finals in their conference last season, losing to Mount Saint Joe.  McDonogh has won the MIAA A title in two of the past three years.

The heat was a factor on Thursday.  Gamble said that his team had to stay calmer, and move the ball around a lot. Griggs summed it up by saying that the Eagles showed a lot of heart in the heat.

“We kept pressuring the ball, and it paid off.”

McDonogh 2, St. Paul’s 0
St. Paul’s
McD-Gamble, Griggs.
McD-Barth 2, Sanchez 3; SP-DelMonte 11.