Catholic storms on past Mercy Brooks scores four goals for No. 1 team in 5-2 win

Girls soccer

September 17, 1997|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Knowing that No. 1 Catholic had scored 19 goals on its first four opponents, fourth-ranked Mercy opted for a decidedly defensive game plan yesterday.

That strategy worked -- for all of 13 minutes.

Then All-Metro striker Nicole Brooks headed in the first of her four goals to spark the Cubs over Mercy, 5-2, in a Catholic League A Division showdown at Goucher College.

Brooks was the one player Mercy (4-1-1 overall, 1-1 Catholic League) knew it had to contain to have any hope of taking this first of two regular-season matches from the Cubs (5-0, 2-0).

"There's a particular way you have to play her," said Mercy stopper Jesse Eckerl. "You can't let her have the ball and then turn on you. You have to step up and win the ball. You can't let her possess it. We gave her too much time."

And Brooks took advantage of every second and every space. She gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead in the 31st minute, turning the ball out of a crowd and sliding it into the corner. Later, she scored on a Becky Bieneman carom off the post.

Brooks' best effort came in the 77th minute when she took the ball off Eckerl's feet about 20 yards straight out, carried it halfway in and tapped it past Mercy keeper Jenn Williams.

The entire Cubs attack did a terrific job of creating scoring opportunities all afternoon. Natalie Loftus opened the second half with a perfect ball from the midfield to the right wing, where Lindsey Polec nailed it home.

Trailing 3-0, Mercy's attack showed more of the spark that finally appeared in the last five minutes of the first half.

"We had to open it up more and take some chances," said Magic coach Kevin Cromwell.

The Magic finally scored on a controversial play in the 65th minute. Cubs keeper Corrine Butcher saved Mercy's first shot of the half, but a Magic player ran into her and Butcher lost her balance. She started falling back over the goal line and tossed the ball out. Mercy's Becca Hojnowski shot it past her.

"They say she threw the ball out, but she did have the ball in her possession when the girl hit her. Not allowed," said Cubs coach Jerry Dieter. "So how do you think soccer players are going to react?"

With a goal. Forty seconds later, Bieneman nailed a tough no-angle shot off the post and Brooks netted the rebound.

With its rebuilding offense, Mercy had trouble against the Cubs' veteran defense, led by sweeper Beth Frey and backs Jackie Sebastian and Kristen Kane. However, the Magic attack did get one more goal when Kaitie Schuyler lofted a shot 20 yards over Butcher's head.

Pub Date: 9/17/97

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