One quick look at McDonogh's standout sweeper Laura Schroeder shortly after her top-ranked Eagles survived a 1-0 win over No. 3 St. Mary's in last night's Catholic League A Division semifinal told the story.
Her black jersey was draped in mud, making the No. 18 on her back barely visible.
"This was not about pretty soccer," she said.
Despite being outshot, 21-7, and outplayed most of the game by last year's conference champ St. Mary's, the Eagles (15-2-4) made the most of their opportunities -- getting a first-half goal from junior Marissa Schuchat 18 minutes in and holding on with a stellar defensive effort led by Schroeder and senior keeper Laura Fawley (nine saves).
They advance to the conference championship tomorrow against Catholic -- 3-0 winners over John Carroll -- at 6 p.m. at Utz Field in Patterson Park.
The quality of play far exceeded the playing conditions at Utz Field, where half of one of the penalty areas was a portion of a baseball infield and the weekend rain produced countless mud puddles.
And while St. Mary's (13-4-4) carried the play and had most of the chances, McDonogh made its best chance count when Schuchat put back a deflection with St. Mary's keeper Amy Mulligan off her line.
"It wasn't pretty, but the kids played with a lot of heart," said McDonogh coach Maurice Boylan. "Laura [Fawley] was flawless, handling every ball that came her way. And Laura [Schroeder] did a good job clearing balls and handling the defense. St. Mary's is a great team and they put a lot of pressure on us. We were bending, but didn't break -- handling everything they gave us."
The win could prove costly for the Eagles, who may have to play tomorrow's game against Catholic without scorer Lisa Zanti, who was issued a red card after getting tangled with a St. Mary's player along the sidelines.
Catholic League officials will decide today whether Zanti will be able to play.
Catholic 3, John Carroll 0: The second-ranked Cubs were able to shake off a determined John Carroll team with three second-half goals from junior striker Rebecca Bieneman to advance to tomorrow's Catholic League A Championship against top-ranked McDonogh.
For Bieneman, who now has 25 goals and 18 assists on the season, it simply came down to a friendlier side of the bumpy Utz Field.
"In the first half, there was tons of mud at our [offensive] end. We came out stronger in the second half knowing we'd be able to use our passing game better," she said.
Sixth-ranked John Carroll (10-5-2) dominated the latter part of the first half with sophomore midfielder Jennifer Biscoe creating most of their scoring chances.
But the young Patriots' inability to finish their opportunities cost them.
Next up for the Cubs is McDonogh, which handed them their only loss, a 1 -0 shutout, late in the season to bounce them from the top ranking. Catholic came away 3-2 winners in the first meeting.
"Those were two exciting games and I don't expect Wednesday to be any different," said Catholic coach Jerry Dieter.
Severn 5, Maryvale 2: Emily Rodriquez and Megan Barkes each scored two goals in leading the Admirals (12-6-1) to victory over the top-seeded Lions in a semifinal game. Severn and Roland Park will meet in the championship tomorrow at Utz Field at Patterson Park at 4 p.m.
Roland Park 2, Bryn Mawr 0: Sophomore Caline McHenry scored both goals to lead the second seed Reds (14-3).
Pub Date: 11/11/97