TOWSON — Standing on the Calvert Hall soccer field, Archbishop Spalding coachBrad Rivera shook his head as he read the scoreboard's final tally: Home 5, Visitor 0.
His Cavaliers had just lost to Calvert Hall, the area's No. 2-ranked team and winner of 14 Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference titles since 1970. Most observers expected the lop-sided score.
Most, that is, except Rivera, who one month earlier called this year's team the Cavaliers' best.
"This year is our year," he said then. "If we don't do it (win the MSA A title) this season, for whatever reason, it will be a while before we do anything."
For the game's first 33 minutes, the Cavaliers did everything they could to proveRivera right, matching Calvert Hall step for step offensively and containing it defensively.
But the Cardinals scored with just six minutes, 46 seconds left in the first half, and two more goals followed-- the last with five seconds showing on the scoreboard -- and Spalding faced an insurmountable 3-0 deficit.
In all, the Cardinals (6-1, 4-0) had a 22-8 shots advantage. Second-half goals from J. J. Kremer and Enrique Sanchez were just the icing.
"We stayed with them for a while, but we have to work on controlling the ball, passing and talking," said senior striker Pat Mohr. "We're getting the ball and no one's supporting each other."
Rivera said, "We tried to limit J.J., but they had so many cannons. We tried to work the attack, but apparently they marked Javi (Rivera) and they also marked Pat. We couldnot mount an attack because of the speed of their team."
Early inthe game, Mohr had a chance to put the Cavs up, 1-0.
He beat several Cardinal defenders to a long ball and was in a one-on-one with keeper Larry Rohleder. But Rohleder stretched to bat away Mohr's volleywith his right hand. Mohr collected the rebound and got off a weak shot that was cleared by a defender.
"On the first shot, I saw him come out, and he got his fingertips on the ball," said Mohr. "The second shot was just reflex -- the ball came at me and I just went to tap it. Luckily for them, they had their guy coming in from the outsideto clear it out."
At first, the Cardinals' offensive efforts met with similar results.
When they attacked the corners behind Kremer, the Cavaliers, led by sweeper Todd Swann, Zachary Wood and Ken Smith, contained their runs to the middle in full view of keeper Chris Badaczewski (six saves).
"That's where we thought their strengths were -- at the corners and on set plays," said Swann. "We had Mickey Wist on J.J. and our outside fullbacks taking on their guys outside."
"They were such a powerful team that every shot they scored on us was in the corners or wherever they wanted it," Badaczewski said.
Still, Rivera, whose Cavaliers fell to 2-3 in the MSA A and 1-2 in Division II, said, "Next time, they might beat us, but they won't beat us like this."