No. 1 McDonogh turns back stubborn St. Mary's for 1-0 win

September 17, 1994|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Special to The Sun

Earlier this week, the top-ranked McDonogh girls soccer team lost its 21-game winning streak when host Mercy scored in the final five seconds to pull out a tie.

With a schedule that includes several nationally ranked teams in places like New York and Virginia, players and coaches looked at yesterday's game against St. Mary's as the team's biggest of the young season.

But what they hoped would be a confidence builder nearly turned into a disaster. After getting outplayed for much of the game, McDonogh scored midway through the second half to pull out a 1-0 win over the Saints in a Catholic League game at Bates Sports Complex in Annapolis.

"This was the most important game of the season for us," said striker Laurie Schwoy, a 1993 All-American who helped McDonogh to a No. 3 national ranking last season. "If we would've come in here and tied again, our confidence would've been shot."

Schwoy said the Saints' quickness in getting back on defense presented a major problem for her and the rest of McDonogh's front line.

"Once we got the ball to midfield it was two on eight," said Schwoy. "We just have a lot of things to work on."

Schwoy's acrobatic footwork set up the only goal of the game.

After dribbling through two defenders, the junior lofted a high crossing pass to the far side of the goal, where Natalie Cox headed it in with 22:30 left in the second half.

"She made a beautiful cross," said Cox, a freshman who has scored four goals in the Eagles' first four games. "I just got myself in the right position and headed it in."

The visitors had four other shots that hit the posts or crossbar. But that was the extent of their offense.

The Saints (2-1 overall and in the league) consistently beat McDonogh (3-0-1, 1-0-1) to loose balls, stole passes and -- even though they were outshot, 21-12 -- seemed to throw the Eagles off their game.

"We played them tough the whole way," said St. Mary's coach Jerry Tobin, whose team lost badly to McDonogh three times last year. "I think we can definitely build off this."

The Saints came within inches of tying the game with about 10 minutes left when a shot by halfback Jacqui Saunders caromed off the inside of the far post before spraying back out in front where McDonogh then cleared it out.

The Saints played evenly with McDonogh for most of the game, especially in the second half when the Eagles held only a 9-8 advantage in shots.

Afterward, however, the Eagles still had a 23-game unbeaten streak and their confidence intact.

"It was important for us to establish our turf again after what happened on Tuesday," said McDonogh co-coach Maurice Boylan. "We've had trouble going hard for 80 minutes, and we have a lot of things we have to work on. But this was a good win for us."

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