Maryvale's rise to the top of the Catholic League B Division hasn't exactly been a case of worst-to-first, but it comes close.
With a 2-1 victory over Roland Park yesterday, the Lions went from a 1-12 team to an unbeaten team on the verge of a championship in just one season.
All the Lions (11-0-1) must do to clinch the B Division nTC regular-season championship is win one of their final two games. That appears likely, since they already have beaten those opponents, Severn and Bryn Mawr, by a combined score of 9-0.
Roland Park (10-2 overall, 9-2 division) was the potential roadblock. If the Reds had won, they likely would have claimed the title.
With goals by Megan Baumann and Stephanie Sybert and a strong defensive stand that allowed just one goal on a penalty kick, the host Lions edged the Reds by one goal for the second time this season.
"For Maryvale, this is a big step and a big hooray," freshman defender Blair Boehm said. "Last year in the A Division, we got our butts whipped. Now, we're down in B and we started practicing much earlier, so that gave us more time to work together and be more of a team."
Boehm is just one in an influx of talented newcomers, including 11 freshmen and one national-team player, junior Brooke Statsny, who have helped turn the program around for new coach Ben Neil.
Yesterday, the Reds shut out Statsny, who had two goals including the game-winner in the previous 3-2 win, but the Lions were not lacking in offense.
Baumann scored the game's first goal in the eighth minute off Dana Olsson's corner kick. Left alone in the middle of the net, Baumann perfectly angled her header into a wide space between Reds keeper Susan Italiano and the right post.
The next 48 minutes consisted of a bruising physical battle with each team frustrated by narrow misses. The Lions hit the post twice, but the Reds probably had the best opportunity early in the second half.
Lauren Waesche headed the ball over two defenders about 25 yards out, raced onto it and fired toward the far corner. Lions goalie Bridget Doory made a sliding save, but lost the ball.
"It fell out of her hands, hit the pole and our girls didn't follow it up," said Reds coach Danny Santoro, whose team had a 16-13 edge in shots. "We matched intensity, but we couldn't finish."
The Lions got the game-winner on a penalty kick after Sybert was tripped in the box. She drilled her shot into the low left corner.
A minute later, Reds striker Caline McHenry was pushed in the box, setting up a penalty kick for Natalie Rothemund, who scored her team's only goal on the same shot Sybert had used.
Pub Date: 10/22/97