McDonogh's surprise run through the Catholic League Soccer Tournament was ended by top-seeded Mercy, which used its speed, experience and two goals from flashy striker Robyn DePasquale en route to a 3-0 victory in last night's final at Patterson Park.
McDonogh, which starts two freshmen, five sophomores and one senior, finished in fourth place (4-6-2) during the regular season. The Eagles (10-8-2) were seeded fifth in the tournament, but knocked off No. 3 Catholic High and No. 2 St. Mary's to reach the final.
Last night, however, it was the superior skills of Mercy's veteran players that ended what McDonogh coach Ted Scocos called "a storybook season," the Eagles' second in the highly competitive Catholic League.
The Sharpshooters (14-1-2) got the only goal they would need at seven minutes, when DePasquale lofted what appeared to be a centering pass from 25 yards on the left wing. Eagles keeper Sarah Manekin moved out on the ball, then watched helplessly as it floated over her head and settled into the net.
A shot or a pass? "I don't know. It just went in the goal, so I guess that makes it a shot," DePasquale said.
McDonogh assistant Maurice Boylen pointed to the goal as a turning point. "We knew we had a shot at them if we kept it close at halftime. I can't believe we gave them that easy, cheesy goal," he said.
But there was nothing cheap about DePasquale's second score. At 30 minutes, 25 seconds, she slipped between Christina Coroneos and Alison Schroeder on the right post to head Chris Williamson's corner kick into the goal.
Leading 2-0 at halftime, Mercy ended all doubt on an artful goal by Lauren Szcepaniak.
That was enough to cap a season in which Mercy coach Bob Doerfler predicted his team would win it all, and it did.
"This team more than lived up to our expectations. We knew we had the defense, and the offense really came through," he said. "The team jelled halfway through the season and played as a team. The girls committed. They did well."
Scocos also said that his team surpassed expectations.
"Midway through the season, we were kind of looking to survive with a .500 record. But all of a sudden, the girls said, 'Hey, we can play in this league,' " he said. "They promised us a 10-win season and a trip to the final. They delivered."
In the third-place game, John Carroll topped St. Mary's, 1-0, as Krysten Porcella converted Amity Torbit's cross in the 65th minute.