As the sweeper back in a defense that has allowed just six goals all season, scoring is not the first priority of Gerstell Academy senior Braedan Dillon.

In the 10th minute of Sunday’s MIAA C Conference soccer championship game, at UMBC Stadium, however, Dillon seized an offensive opportunity and struck for what proved to be the only goal of the afternoon, allowing the Falcons to complete an undefeated season with a 1-0 victory over St. Vincent Pallotti and clinch the school’s first soccer championship since 2013.

Gerstell, which last lost in last year’s league championship game, to Pallotti, pressed the Panthers early but failed to break through. With Dillon stationed 40-yards from the goal, near the right sideline, he was in the right spot to gather a defensive clear. His initial intention was to drive the ball back into box, but when he noticed that Pallotti keeper Rene Garcia had come out a bit too far, he lifted a high ball towards the left post. It cleared Garcia, as he hastily retreated, and bounced into the left side of the goal for the score.

“I was watching the goalie and seeing if he was going to come out,” said Dillon of his third goal of the year. “He was moved out so I decided to shoot the ball. It went way far in the left side of the net and we scored one and got 1-0 up. It’s amazing.”

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Defender Braedan Dillon (center), who scored the only goal in Gerstell's 1-0 win over St. Vincent Pallotti in the MIAA Conference championship game, is flanked by junior forward Travis Smith (6) and goalkeeper Drew Sindicic. (Gary Adornato)

Pallotti (10-11-1), which graduated 11 players from its title team of a year ago, did not go quietly.

The Panthers changed the momentum of the contest over the final 20 minutes of the first half and created numerous offensive chances with none bigger than a pair of shots by freshman Jake Odey-Jordan, with 12 minutes to play in the first half.

Odey-Jordan ran onto a ball chipped over the top and triggered a shot that was blocked by junior Gerstell goalkeeper Andrew Sindicic. The rebound came back to Odey-Jorda, who find again, only to see Sindicic foil him again with scrambling kick save.

“It’s big,” said Sindicic of his ability to make those saves. “Coming right off a goal, we got the momentum. Obviously we want to keep that, especially going into the half. So, (I) got to make those saves and help the boys up top.”

Gerstell coach Ashley Murphy agreed on the importance of those saves.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

“It was absolutely crucial,” said Murphy. “Drew not only plays for me for the high school, he plays on my club team and he’s a fantastic keeper. I’m super proud of him and those were important saves.”

Sindicic finished with four first half saves and five for the game, as Gerstell carried the majority of the play in the second half. Whenever Pallotti did make an advance, the Falcons, led by Dillon, defused all potentially dangerous situations.

Murphy was not surprised that the only goal came from Dillon.

“Our goals have distributed amongst everyone throughout this season,” Murphy said. “Everyone persevered and got on the score sheet at some point this season. I am very proud of our defense, in only conceding six goals in 16 games.”

According to Murphy, the Falcons (14-0-1) built upon what they achieved last year in reaching the championship game.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

“The boys persevered. They’ve come through adversity, losing that final last year, and our goal going into this season was to go one better this year and win it. That’s exactly what we’ve done and I’m super proud of each and every one of them.”

The championship was the first since the Falcons won three MIAA titles from 2011-2013. The first two were in the C Conference and the third was in the B Conference.

The budding rivalry between Gerstell and Pallotti will continue next year, but it will continue in the B Conference as both teams have decided to move up to the next level.

“It’s our first conference (title) in 10 years,” said Murphy. “The goal of the school, now, is to move into B and heavily compete in B for years to come.”

Pallotti coach Charlie Peterson was disappointed in the outcome, but very proud of his team.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

“I thought we could pull it off,” said Peterson. “We lost 11 seniors, but we don’t say rebuilding year. We just move on and we go for another one. We lost eight starters and these guys stepped it up. We played a very tough schedule in the beginning. If you look at our overall record, it does not look that great, but we were losing to teams like Good Counsel, Bowie and we were a little short-handed. The last statement I made to these guys before the game, ‘We’re exactly where I wanted us to be at this point.’”

Peterson is also excited about the challenge of playing in the B Conference.

“I’ve told these guys, ‘I’ve watched the B and there’s noting to be afraid of,’” said Peterson. “We can play with those guys; we know we can.”

2022 MIAA C Conference Soccer Championship

(at UMBC Stadium)

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.


SVP 0 0 - 0

GER 1 0 - 1

GOAL: SVP-Braedon Dillon.


SAVES: SVP-Renee Garcia 5; GER-Drew Sindicic 4.