J. Carroll shows off top-ranked form, 6-0 Porcella's 3rd-minute goal starts Pats over Spalding

September 18, 1998|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

In an upset-filled early season that has had the metro poll in weekly shambles, only one team -- John Carroll -- has been able to stay on course.

Playing their first game after claiming the top spot earlier in the week, the Patriots certainly looked right for the part yesterday, coming away with a convincing 6-0 win over No. 13-ranked Archbishop Spalding in Severn.

Six Patriots scored, and John Carroll dominated from the kickoff. Kourtney Porcella's goal in the game's third minute started the Patriots' run to a 6-0 record overall and 4-0 in the Catholic League.

How have the Patriots stayed away from the upset bug that has caught up with so many other top teams in the early going?

"We've been coming out with a lot of intensity, and we're going to have to continue playing that way to keep our No. 1 ranking," said junior standout Jen Biscoe, who dominated midfield and set up three goals.

"We play every game like it's a championship game," she said. "We knew Spalding wasn't going to be a slouch, so we had to come out hard."

With upset wins over Severna Park and Centennial, Spalding (4-3, 1-2) has been one of the area's biggest surprises and primary instigators in The Sun poll's disarray. However, the Cavaliers simply couldn't keep up with John Carroll's fast, talented team.

Taking control in midfield was the Patriots' first order of business. That let them use their speed and finishing ability to put away the game early.

Lindsay Syphard's run down the right side that drew Spalding goalkeeper Yasmin Alter's attention set up the opening goal by Porcella, who was alone in the middle.

"They close on you very fast and play a nice long-ball game," said Spalding first-year coach Bob Greeno. "I thought our kids got down after the first goal, and we never recovered. We were trying to mark up with them, but their crossing patterns away from the ball caused us to lose our players. Then everything compounded."

Syphard, Kim Karlinchak and Erica Korecky added goals in the first half for the Patriots. Liz Saul and Katie Whelehan closed out the scoring in the second 40 minutes.

John Carroll coach Gary Lynch hasn't been surprised by his team's early success. He's quick to credit the leadership of tri-captains Laura Tiburzi, Whelehan and Biscoe. The team's speed, offensive balance and fitness are other big factors.

"The leadership on the field is so significant. There's a tight bond here, and they've found a challenge," said Lynch. "When we're focused, we can be very, very tough. With only two seniors, we're still young and immature at times, so it's just a case of taking on the responsibility. So far, so good."

Pub Date: 9/18/98

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