St. Mary's coach Brent Boone found both good and bad in yesterday's 5-2 Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference victory over visiting Cardinal Gibbons.
The Saints (4-2 overall, 3-0 in Division II) played nearly flawless soccer in the first half, with a 15-2 advantagein shots (30-7 for the game) and a 2-0 edge in corner kicks (7-0 overall).
That was good.
Senior striker Todd Lord's first-half hat trickraised his season total to nine goals and helped the Saints build a 4-1 halftime lead.
That also was good.
The problem was, the Saints didn't play as well in the second half against an 0-4-1 team thatstarted just three seniors and had only 13 players in uniform.
And in the post-game talk, Boone let his players know as much.
The Saints play host tomorrow to St. Paul's -- a team that beat Gibbons, 1-0, in overtime -- before taking a big step up against defending MSA A champion Calvert Hall Friday.
And with that game, as well as next Tuesday's contest against MSA A runner-up Loyola looming, Boone wanted his players to know that a second half like yesterday's just won't cut it.
"We got way too lackadaisical in the second half," the first-year coach told his squad after the game. "People weren't running, people weren't moving, and people weren't talking."
"We're getting into the heart of the season, guys, and you've got to be doing this stuff without it being told," said Boone, whose Saints played whathe called their best game in Saturday's 2-0 loss to McDonogh.
"Wednesday, against St. Paul's, I want you to go out and play a full 80 minutes," he said. "I know it'll come, but I'll be happy if you just put together a full game."
In the first 40 minutes of yesterday's one-sided affair, the Saints' offense, led by midfielders Rob Tobin, Steve Marsella and Justin Dunbar and strikers Lord and Eamon McCormick, worked the ball nicely to the corners and waited for teammates to make runs at the goal.
That done, they pounded dangerous crosses into the penalty area.
The Cardinal Gibbons squad of Coach Roch DeFrances was shut down offensively in the first half, except for Saint senior Kevin Reichardt's miscue that led to Steve Wojochowki's penalty kick for its first goal.
"As a whole, I think our defense was playing just the way we want to," said Reichardt, a junior, who trippedan opposing player from behind, setting up the penalty kick.
"I was being too offensive minded. I let a guy get behind me, then I ripped him too hard."
The teams traded second-half goals: A header by Gibbons' Dave Kelly made it 4-2 before St. Mary's Rich Mackey converted a penalty kick for the final margin.
The Saints led, 1-0, just three minutes into the game. Tobin found McCormick on the end of a cross, which McCormick -- standing to the left of the goal -- redirected high and over Ryan Beaumont's outstretched hands.
What followed were near-misses by Lord, Don Cipriani and Marsella -- whose volley hit the crossbar -- before the game turned into yet another rendition of the Todd Lord show.
Lord's first of three goals came at the 10-minute mark when Kelly tried to dribble between Marsella and Lord near the Saints' sideline.
Kelly forced a pass toward the top of the penalty box, but Lord gained the inside step. He then nailed a left-footed shot that hooked just inside the right-hand post for a 2-0 lead.
Wojochowki's penalty kick with seven minutes left in the half was the visitors' first shot on goal. That made the score 2-1 before Lord responded with two goals just one minute apart.
Liswell Brooks'lazy roller to Beaumont's right reached Lord, who stood in front of the goal five yards out. Lord had his back to the goal, but settled the ball with his right foot, turned and chipped a left-footer that caromed in off the far post.
His final goal was sheer hustle, as he beat two defenders to an errant pass at the top of the box and bangedhome a 4-1 lead.
With nine goals and an assist, Lord has been in on 10 of his team's 15 goals.
And Lord may be the county's only top scorer who takes a ribbing from teammates for his scoring ability.
"Eamon said if I scored in the second half, he'd kill me," Lord joked.