Since its loss to Key School a few weeks ago, Baltimore Lutheran’s boys’ soccer team has been waiting for the opportunity to redeem itself. The Saints did just that Wednesday afternoon, defeating the Obezags, 2-0, in a MIAA C Conference contest in Towson.
Senior midfielder/forward John Rattray and forward Chris Cheesleman each scored as the Saints (8-1-1 overall, 7-1-1 MIAA C) moved into a tie with Key (22 points) for second. Last month in Annapolis, Key (7-5-2, 7-2-1 MIAA C) topped Lutheran, 2-1.
“We came out very laissez faire, didn’t take it seriously and they dominated,” said Saints coach Dave Merritt. “We said they should’ve been up 5-0. That was the worst soccer we played all year.
We put this game on our calendar as a game we wanted because we felt we didn’t give them our best game.”
From the opening minute, Lutheran played with a purpose. Freshman midfielder Tanner Saarela sent a through pass to Rattray down the right side. Rattray beat Key goalie Alex DeMarco, for a 1-0 advantage in the 26th minute.
“I knew I had to finish and get the team pumped up and get that momentum behind us,” said Rattray. “We know what we have to do to win.”
“When we need a goal,” said Merritt, “we know John can finish.”
Off a restart, Cheelsman sent a strike over DeMarco’s head in the 27th minute to put the game virtually out of reach. Cheelsman said the Saints have been able to finish opportunities, compared to last season.
“We have a bunch of guys who can move the ball around the top,” said Cheelsman. “We still have to room to improve.”
It’s also what Key coach Brian Boyd is banking on in the final two weeks of the regular season. Boyd said Lutheran outplayed his squad, especially in the midfield.
“It’s one of those games where one team came out and really hustled for every loose ball,” said Boyd, whose team was shutout for the third straight game. “We fought like crazy, did some things well but they fought harder. These are two evenly matched teams.”
The Obezags host Chapelgate Christian Academy Thursday, then go to Frederick Friday for a match with St. John’s Catholic Prep. Lutheran has home games with Indian Creek (Thursday) and Beth T’filoh (Tuesday) before closing the regular season at St. John’s Catholic.
The Saints and Obezags sit a point behind Mount Carmel (7-2-2; 23 points).
“I was expected us to be strong, but not in terms of our record this late in the season. It’s been great senior leadership,” said Merritt, in his first season. “I’m confident that we can win every game if we play our style of soccer.”
|Baltimore Lutheran 2, Key School 0|
K-DeMarco 7; L-Post 5.