No one is questioning any longer just how good this top-ranked St. Mary's team is.
"We have no weaknesses," said junior attackman Josh White. "If people can find one, then we'll have to adjust to what they do. But right now our defense is playing great and our offense scores on a lot of unsettled situations."
White scored three goals to lead the Saints past second-ranked St. Paul's, 11-8, yesterday in a battle of unbeaten MIAA A Conference powers at blustery and cold Weems Whalen Field in Annapolis.
St. Paul's (5-1) had to score twice in the final two minutes to make the game as close as it was against St. Mary's (8-0), which led from wire-to-wire.
"It's tough coming down here to play any time, much less when St. Mary's has as much talent as they do and are well-coached," said St. Paul's coach Rick Brocato. "I think our kids showed a lot of heart in coming back like they did [down 6-1 in the second quarter.]"
The Crusaders did a lot of things right, from the goalkeeping of senior Rich Yost (17 saves) to some outstanding defensive play on St. Mary's senior attackman Dan Marohl, to the superb face-off work of Chris Berrier.
Yost made some unbelievable saves to keep the game fairly close, especially in the final two minutes of the third quarter when he stopped two shots from point-blank range. He wound up with nine saves in the third quarter, helping St. Paul's trail only 7-5 at the end of it.
The Crusaders' defense, led by Rich Reid, limited Marohl to two goals and one assist, and Berrier won 13 of 21 faceoffs.
In addition to all their ability to score out of free-lance situations, the Saints proved yesterday they could run a six-on-six offense and still be productive.
The most spectacular of the six-on-six goals came with 1: 20 gone in the fourth quarter and threw a big damper on St. Paul's hopes for a rally. Marohl hooked up with Jamison Mullen on the goal early in the fourth, shoving the Saints ahead, 8-5.
Mullen got the ball to Marohl, who then was able to beat Yost one-on-one for one of the few times in the game.
Marohl faked high, then low, then pumped the ball past Yost high.
Brian LaChapelle came back 1: 33 later to score off a pass from Chris Criswell and St. Mary's was on its way to an 8-0 start.
Marcus LaChapelle and Mullen also had outstanding days for the streaking Saints, each scoring two goals and getting one assist.
St. Paul's, which had battled back to trail only 6-5, on Buggs Combs' goal with 5: 55 left in the third, was sparked offensively by three Combs goals and four Chris Kakel assists.
The reason for all the excitement around St. Mary's these days is that it has been 10 years since the Saints have been ranked No. 1 this early in the season.
"That [No. 1 ranking early in 1986] didn't last long," said St. Mary's coach Jim Moorhead. "Everything has to stay in perspective now or we could find ourselves in trouble quickly. We're an unselfish team and the guys just seem to be playing to win games and not worry about the rankings."
Moorhead was especially pleased with the way his team worked the ball on offense and repeated his season-long philosophy: "We really don't have any one player we go to a lot for goals. All our guys can score."
Pub Date: 4/11/96