BALTIMORE — When the St. Mary's girls soccer team trotted onto Patterson Park's Utz Twardowicz Field yesterday afternoon, it was exactly where the Saints had been hoping to be all season.
The only problem was the Saints were playing two hours earlier than they had expected. They had planned to be in the Catholic League Tournament championship game, not the consolation.
But a 3-2 overtime loss to No. 3-seed McDonogh on Monday pitted the Saints against last year's league tournament champion John Carrollin a battle for third place. The Patriots had suffered a 4-0 loss totop-seeded Mercy in the semis.
Neither team seemed too eager to capture the No. 3 spot, but in the end it was the Patriots of Harford County who casually claimed it.
"This was just a fun game," said St. Mary's coach Jerry Tobin, after watching his team fall, 1-0. "We had some injuries, so we brought up eight kids from the JV and just let them have a good time.
"It was an absolutely meaningless game, except for giving the younger kids a little chance to play. But (John Carroll coach) Joe (Rehrmann) did the same thing. We promised to havea 0-0 tie, but his kids lucked out and put one in."
Tobin and Rehrmann chatted and joked throughout the contest, as did members of both teams.
An ailing St. Mary's squad controlled the tempo of the game in the first half but failed to score, despite outshooting the Patriots, 8-3.
St. Mary's (14-4-1) played the entire first half with its two premier scorers fighting to stay warm on the sidelines.
Junior Mo McDonough, who already has set the school record for career goals with 55, did not play because of the flu, and Randall Goldsborough, who holds the school record for career assists with 30, saw limited action due to an ankle injury sustained Monday.
And what would the Saints have done had they pulled out Monday's squeaker against McDonogh?
"We'd have been in deep straits," said Tobin. "We probablywould have gutted it out, but it would have been tough to be competitive.
"Randall and Mo probably wouldn't have played. The only reason I put Randall in the game was because she's a senior and this was her last game."
Tobin finally inserted Goldsborough midway throughthe second half and consequently saw his team get scored on when Krysten Procella found the net on a sharp crossing pass from Amity Torbit. St. Mary's freshman keeper Erin Hon (seven saves) made a diving effort to stop the ball but couldn't cut it off.
"It's a hard thing going out being a senior and not being able to win it (the Catholic League Tournament), but we had a good season and we're proud of everybody," said senior sweeper Liz McGonagle, who could not add to her 20 career goals and five assists.
"I don't think our intensity was asstrong as it was against McDonogh, but I think there was enough heretoday to win."
Tobin was pleased with his team's performance yesterday and for the entire year.
"We had a great season," he said. "I have a lot of young kids on the team and they've come a long way.
"I've been very pleased with what they did, and I'm very proud of them. We did better than I initially expected. After we started the season we had some high hopes, but I think realistically, we just didn't have enough experience."