Spalding swamps McDonogh, 7-0 Cavaliers' intense attack brings down No. 2 Eagles

November 05, 1997|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

No fluke. No luck.

Fourth-ranked Spalding, the doormat of the league two years ago, silenced any doubters yesterday, crushing host No. 2 McDonogh, 7-0, in an MIAA A Conference semifinal game.

The Cavaliers (14-4-2) advance to the school's first A Conference championship game in any sport when they meet Calvert Hall 5 p.m. Saturday at UMBC. It was the first loss for McDonogh (17-3-1) in nearly a month.

"We're a team that still doesn't get respect," said Spalding forward Brian Wright, one of five seniors who started on the 1995 team which went 1-16-1. "We're never the team that people get up for or the team that is favored to win.

"But we've worked hard and there is no reason why we shouldn't be here. There is no doubt in my mind that we can beat Calvert Hall and pull it off."

When Spalding beat Calvert Hall earlier this year, some observers said it was the Cardinals who beat themselves. When the Cavaliers tied McDonogh a week ago, some pointed to the Eagles being emotionally drained from a recent upset of Calvert Hall.

But yesterday, no one could take anything away from Spalding.

The Cavaliers bolted to a 2-0 lead 22 minutes into the game and scored twice more in the opening 25 minutes of the second half. The seven goals matched the number that McDonogh had allowed in 13 league games.

"They outplayed us in every facet," McDonogh coach Steve Nichols said. "It's unfair to end such a good season like this. We tried to stress to them that there is a different intensity level in the playoffs. Our guys saw that in Spalding when they scored on us early. I think our youth and inexperience showed today."

Spalding struck 16 minutes into the game when Sean McMullen's header off a strong throw-in flicked the ball to Neil Adams at the far post. An unmarked Adams had his initial shot stopped by McDonogh goalkeeper Cam Thompson, but he corraled the ball and finished off the rebound.

Six minutes later, Thompson gambled by charging a slow-rolling cross at the top of the box. The ball skidded past a diving Thompson to the feet of Spalding midfielder Jason King, who tapped it into the empty net for a 2-0 advantage.

Cavaliers forward Justin Muller then sealed the game with three straight goals -- two off headers -- in a 16-minute second-half stretch to increase the lead to 5-0.

The victory only adds to the progression of Spalding, which qualified for its first MIAA A Conference semifinal last year.

"This year, they're all winners and know it," Spalding coach Rick Carlson said. "They all came to Spalding to start a program. This is something special."

Pub Date: 11/05/97

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