St. Mary's topples No. 1 Catholic, 1-0, for A division title Hemminger gets winner

1st title since 1992

Girls soccer

November 07, 1996|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Sophomore Beth Hemminger's third goal of the season 6: 58 into the second half became "pretty much the most important of my career," and "a necessary adjustment" by St. Mary's coach Jerry Tobin became a stroke of genius.

Both were critical elements last night at Utz Field in Baltimore's Patterson Park, where No. 6 St. Mary's (16-2-1) reversed an earlier loss by the identical score of 1-0, dethroning top-ranked Catholic (15-2-1) for the Catholic League A Division crown.

The Saints, champions in 1992 and making their fifth title game appearance in the last eight seasons under 11th-year coach Tobin, kept Catholic, ranked No. 16 nationally, from adding to its league-leading five crowns.

They also shut down top scorer Nicole Brooks (22 goals, nine assists), whose goal in their earlier meeting knocked St. Mary's (then No. 12) from the U.S. rankings.

St. Mary's usual 4-3-3 formation revolves around midfielders Melissa Murphy (nine goals, three assists), Maria Smear (eight, 11) and Erin Coppedge (15, two). Every starter, even goalkeeper Jen Corradini, has scored off it.

But a broken collarbone sidelined sweeper Tina Fedarcyk five games back, forcing Tobin to juggle his lineup.

"We moved Murphy back to stopper and switched Erin to center halfback, but I promise you, it wasn't a stroke of wisdom or any psychic ability," Tobin said.

The result, however, was perfect: Murphy and sweeper Kellie Thompson limited Brooks to one shot in each half while also helping to set the tone offensively.

St. Mary's early pressure resulted in a 9-2 advantage in first-half shots (16-9 for the game) and three corner kicks, but was often foiled by Cubs' goalkeeper Corrine Butcher (13 saves) and defenders Kristen Kane and Beth Frey.

But after getting off the game's first shot, a doorstep header that keeper Corradini cradled, Brooks was tackled three times.

"Regardless of where I'm positioned, I just play soccer, but Kellie did an awesome job on Nicole," said Murphy, one of the Saints' three starting seniors.

Butcher kept Catholic afloat early on. She knocked down a shot from Marianne Gioffre five minutes into the game and another, by Coppedge, moments later. Near the 20th minute, Butcher also scooped a soft volley from Murphy. Just before halftime, St. Mary's Susan MacWilliams nailed one off the crossbar and down, but Butcher beat St. Mary's attackers to the ball.

Corradini did her job when Catholic out-shot the Saints, 3-0, early in the second half, including a snag of Brooks' one-on-one 15-yarder. Then, Hemminger turned the tide off a mis-kick by sweeper Maria Adams.

Corradini preserved her ninth shutout with seven of her nine saves as Catholic pressed.

"We were even in the second half, but they finished one and we didn't," said Jason Dieter, co-coach with his father, Jerry, of Catholic.

Seton Keough 4, Mount de Sales 2: Senior striker Sarah Tollick scored all four goals for the Gators (16-2) who won the Catholic League B Division Tournament championship for the second time in three years. Tollick scored three of her goals in the second half after a 1-1 tie at halftime. Nikki Brown and Johnna Fellows each had an assist for Seton Keough.

Pub Date: 11/07/96

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