Saints pull rank again, upset Mercy

October 15, 1994|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Special to The Sun

Unless St. Mary's wins the Catholic League championship, the Saints may be hard-pressed to find a more successful week than this one.

Earlier in the week, the unranked Saints fell behind three times at No. 1 McDonogh. But each time St. Mary's rallied, finally coming up with a 3-3 tie against the nationally ranked Eagles.

St. Mary's visited No. 10 Mercy yesterday and once again fell behind early. But the Saints got goals from Susan MacWilliams, Erin Hon and Erin Coppedge and controlled the game with their speed and passing to score a 3-2 victory in a Catholic League A Division game at North Harford Playfield.

St. Mary's (8-4-1, 7-2-1), which moved into second place in the division ahead of Mercy (8-4-2, 6-2-2), lost to Mercy and McDonogh early in the season. But this week's games -- both on the road -- show how this team has started to jell.

The Saints used momentum from the McDonogh tie to come out fired up and gave Mercy few chances. "We felt we really needed to win this one," said Hon. "The McDonogh game wouldn't have meant as much if we [lost]."

St. Mary's kept things under control with its precise passing and speed. The Saints relied on short passes in the midfield area and attacked by getting through balls in the Sharpshooters' end.

"They were eating our defense up down there," said Mercy coach Bob Doerfler, who was missing two starters due to injuries and could suit up only 14 players. "The speed [and] the ball-handling were excellent."

During the first half, St. Mary's spent much of time with the ball and in the Mercy end. The Saints outshot the Sharpshooters, 11-6, and came up with several good chances.

Still, Mercy scored first when Tiffany Sudano put one in from inside the box 4:30 into the game. But MacWilliams tied the game at 8:40 with an assist from Kristen Buckley.

The momentum really swung to St. Mary's when Hon scored 65 seconds later. She took a nice pass from Marianne Gioffre and fired one inside the left post from inside the box.

MacWilliams and Coppedge combined to give the Saints a 3-1 lead 5:20 before the half. MacWilliams pushed a through ball ahead to Coppedge, who beat goalie Lisa Olszewski on a one-on-one opportunity.

Mercy rallied in the second half. Tina Steck -- who assisted on the first goal -- scored with about five minutes left to cut the lead to 3-2. Moments later, Maeghan O'Doherty of St. Mary's made a great trap of a long cross in the box to stop a Mercy scoring chance. Kahlilah Davidson also made several good plays for St. Mary's, as did goalie Jen Cerradini (13 saves).

St. Mary's coach Jerry Tobin said the victory shows how his team has grown. Tobin starts eight underclassmen, and the Saints are starting to click. They have gone 6-1-1 in their last eight games after a 2-3 start.

"Early in the season, we were learning how to compete," said Tobin. "Now we're learning how to win."

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