Six turned out to be striker Pat Mohr's lucky number in yesterday's Maryland Scholastic Association Division II boys soccer matchup at St. Mary's.
Archbishop Spalding's leading scorer converted the tail end of a textbook passing exhibition with six minutes remaining in regulation -- with his sixth and last shot of the game -- to give the Cavaliers a 1-0 decision.
"I wasn't expecting the goal, I thought Tom (Reilly) was gonna shoot the ball, then I saw him pass it off. I just stretched out and got my foot on the ball," said Mohr, who had 13 goals and six assists going into the game.
The winning play started with defender Mickey Wist's header near midfield. Javi Rivera gathered it in and hit a crisp grounder to Reilly who broke into the clear along with Mohr insideof the 18-yard line.
Reilly turned down the opportunity to shoot to give his teammate a point-blank shot that scooted into the lower-right corner past Saints goalkeeper J. D. Gattie, who finished the match with seven saves.
"He (Reilly) is very unselfish," said Mohr. "We try to get him to shoot more often. But it turned out good this time."
Spalding (7-3 overall, 6-2 division) avenged an earlier 3-1 defeat by St. Mary's (6-5, 5-3) on Sept. 20, by using a fast-break offensive strategy, as opposed to the Saints'short passing attack.
"This game was actually better than the last game," said Cavaliers coach Brad Rivera. "The last game was very ragged for both. Neither team played with any finesse. But today, both played really well. It was aclean game, and everyone on the field played hard. That's what this game is all about."
The Saints held the early momentum in the first half, frustrating Mohr and controlling the ball for the better portion of the first half. But they failed to cash in on any of their five shot opportunities, as Chris Badaczewski made three saves during the opening stanza.
The visitors were held to just three shots (all by Mohr) during that time -- as Gattie thwarted two of the attempts with brilliant kick saves.
"They (Spalding) had better opportunities to score in the first half, but it seemed like we controlled the ball a lot at midfield, maybe a little bit better than they did," said St. Mary's coach Brent Boone.
"In between 33's I think we played well. We developed opportunities very well, but inside of the offensive 33, it seemed like we were sound asleep. They just weren't hungry enough, it was like they didn't want to score."
The Saints were held shotless during the second half, as theCavs finished with a 12-7 advantage.
The hosts were without the services of three senior starters, leading scorer Todd Lord (10 goals, out with an ankle injury) Rob Tobin (injured back) and stopper Brad Jaeger, who broke his collarbone in Saturday's game against Gilman.
"That's three big-time players that I have out. But I wouldn't saythat that was the difference in the game," said Boone.
With the win, Spalding put itself in second place in the division behind Calvert Hall, while the Saints fell into third place. The top four teams in both Division I and II qualifyfor the MSA playoffs in early November.
"Now were playing together as a unit, and our defense is doing a good job of not letting the other team penetrate," said Rivera. "I think that made the difference today."