A 10-game schedule followed by playoffs and a championship game put together for the MIAA’s Fall “Open Season”
by Gary Adornato
With all MIAA member schools left without an athletic conference this fall, once the league approved an “open season” for its fall sports teams last week, six soccer programs from the MIAA A Conference have formed a Catholic League for the fall of 2020.
Archbishop Curley, Archbishop Spalding, Calvert Hall, John Carroll, Loyola Blakefield and Mount St. Joseph, all Catholic institutions, will play a 10-game regular season schedule amongst each other, with games beginning on Oct. 31st. Each team will play each other team twice, in a home-and-home format. The regular season will conclude by Dec. 9th, followed by the top four teams advancing to the semifinals and a championship game. All post-season games will be played on the home fields of the higher seeds, including the championship.
“We were not interested in playing a few ‘friendlies,’” said Curley coach Barry Stitz, who along with Curley athletic director Matt Hatton initiated the discussions among the schools. “The kids are playing club ball at a championship level right now and we didn’t want to just put our uniforms on and play meaningless games.”
Not included in the planned league are MIAA A soccer members McDonogh, the most dominant program in the conference’s history, and Gilman, a perennial playoff contender, as well as Boys’ Latin and St. Paul’s. McDonogh has announced that its fall teams will not participate in the fall open season, while Boys’ Latin and Gilman have yet to make their plans known.
“We wish we could of had a regular MIAA league season, understanding that some schools may opt out,” said Stitz. “These six schools voted that they wanted to play, so we put this together.”
The schools plan to play these games primarily on Wednesdays and Saturdays with no fans in attendance. Wednesdays and Saturdays were chosen to limit interaction with the rest of the school communities. Wednesdays are days where most of the schools operating on a hybrid model do not have students or faculty on campus, which also allows for early start times to deal with early darkness at this time of year. Schools do have the option, however, to move games to Tuesdays or even Friday nights if necessary due to their own scheduling needs.
“Our goal was to put together a schedule that would give our respective teams something to play for,” said Hatton on behalf of all of the participating schools. “We are excited that the boys, especially the seniors, will have the opportunity to compete this year and continue the local soccer rivalries that the Baltimore area has been known for over the years.”
The league plans to publish its schedule in the next few days.