The St. Mary's boys soccer team came out flat yesterday at St. John's College in Annapolis, and by game's end, were reduced to the stature of a tortilla by visiting Archbishop Spalding.
The Cavaliers scored one goal in the first period and added two more in the second half en route to a 3-0 victory over the Saints in a Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference opener for both teams.
"We weren't ready to play soccer today, and we were totally dominated," said Saints coach Tim Laur after watching his team drop to 3-2 (0-1 in the conference). "It was the worst game we've ever had.
"The kids walked out with their heads down and that's not how you win a ballgame. We had some good individual efforts but you need more than that to beat a team like Spalding."
Spalding's speedy forward Pat Mohr put the Cavaliers on the board with six minutes and 54 seconds to go in the first half on a feed from junior Mickey Wist.
Mohr fielded a shuffle pass from Wist directly in front of the goal and easily put it past Saints' goalie Brad Stevens.
St. Mary's managed to put six shots on goal in the first half, but none of them seemed to pose much of a threat to Spalding keeper Chris Badaczewski, who recorded five saves in the first half alone.
The Saints' enthusiasm level was no higher in the second half, and the visitors appeared to sense it. The hungry Cavaliers out-hustled the hosts to nearly every loose ball and never allowed them an easy clear.
Spalding's hard work paid off just under two minutes into the second half when it took a 2-0 lead following a solo shot by sophomore Zachary Wood. Wood practically kicked the ball out of the hands of Saints' keeper J.D. Gattie, who was bending down nonchalantly to pick up the loose ball.
"In our first game against Glenelg (of Howard County whom they lost to 5-2) we looked like we were getting tired, so this week we really worked on our conditioning," said Spalding second-year coach Brad Riviera.
"Conditioning is one-third of the game, and we wanted to use it to our advantage. We ran a lot this past week and it seemed to pay off today."
Spalding all but put the game out of reach with 24 minutes remaining after Mohr scored his second goal on an assist from junior midfielder Rob Reilly.
Reilly, who literally was all over the field, lofted a direct-kick pass to Mohr, who finished it off by kicking it in past the Saints' charging keeper.
"It was a set play," said Riviera. "We watch what the defense is doing, and we exploit whatever they give us."
Badaczewski finished the day with seven saves for Spalding. Supplying the junior net minder with excellent defensive support were fullbacks Todd Swann, Ron Santana, Brian Huestes and midfielder Dave Tomaszewski.
"We always maintain a good match when we play them," said Riviera, attempting to downplay the win.
"We beat them twice last year but they were close games. I never expected to win 3-0, but apparently they have some injured players."
Now it appears the Saints have their wounded pride to tend to as well.