St. Mary's girls soccer team headed into yesterday's Baltimore Catholic League championship game like a locomotive, having earlier steamrolled quarterfinal opponent Mount de Sales, 7-0, for its seventh shutout, and then Mercy, 3-1, in Monday's semifinal.
But the Saints' express came to a jolting halt at Patterson Park as the John Carroll Patriots (12-2-3) overcame a 1-0 halftime lead to win, 5-1.
It was the Saints' third straight second-place tournament finish and their second straight runner-up finish to John Carroll, which defeated St.
Mary's, 2-1, for last year's title.
John Carroll became the first team to win four Catholic League tournament titles.
"We were really focused on getting back to the championship game. We thought we should have won it last year and didn't want to lose a third time," said senior defender Laura Coakley, who was on all three of those teams. "But we had a great season."
It looked as though the Saints would get their first tournament title after sophomore Mo McDonough (24 goals, seven assists) scored the game's first goal in the fourth minute.
Randall Goldsborough used a chest trap to intercept a pass at midfield and then took the ball to the near corner.
McDonough, standing even with the far post on the other side of the field, beat John Carroll defender Kristina Lynch to the ball. From there, it was a foot race. On the second bounce, McDonough hit the ball past keeper Karin Olsen into the net's lower right corner.
"That got us up for a while," said Coakley. "Then we just seemed to run out of gas for the last three-fourths of the first half. They beat us to every ball, and we just couldn't get it back up."
The Saints missed an opportunity to go up, 2-0, midway through the first half when Liz McGonagle's penalty kick deflected off the corner of the goal to Olsen's left.
The Patriots closed the first half by outshooting the Saints, 5-0.
In the second half, the Patriots picked up where they left off, outshooting the Saints, 5-0.
John Carroll defender Carrie Stallings and Saints keeper Jenet Tadle were battling for the ball about five yards from the goal mouth when the ball rolled free. Sophomore Katie Nietubicz (six goals, five assists) pounced on the opportunity and hit the ball into an open net to tie the game, 1-1, in the fourth minute.
Three minutes later, John Carroll's Amy Dean scored the go-ahead goal after Tadle dropped a cross, which Dean put into the net.
"They took advantage of two critical mistakes," said Tobin, whose Saints shared this year's regular-season A Division title with the Patriots. "When they scored the first two goals, that kind of deflated the kids."
From there, the Patriots pressed the advantage, outshooting the Saints, 8-3, for the half.
Amity Torbit (11 goals, five assists), Carrie Stallings (12 goals, one assist) and Hollie Montague tallied for the Patriots.
For the game, the Patriots had an advantage in shots (16-10) and corners (6-1). Tadle recorded six saves while John Carroll's Olsen only had to handle one shot.