McDonogh eases past Mercy, 2-1 But Magic gives game a tense last 3 minutes

Girls soccer

October 30, 1998|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Although McDonogh won't carry the No. 1 seed into next week's Catholic League tournament, the Eagles have certainly made a convincing argument on who might be No. 1 by tournament's end.

Receiving goals from Lisa Zanti and Ali Andrzejewski, No. 2-ranked McDonogh held off a late rally by visiting No. 5 Mercy before recording a 2-1 victory yesterday in the regular-season finale for both teams.

The Eagles (19-5-1 overall, 11-1-1 Catholic League) have nine straight wins -- the longest current streak in the league -- and have outscored opponents 37-10 in that stretch. The league tournament begins Tuesday for both teams, which had tied in their previous meeting on Oct. 5.

"We feel strong," Zanti said. "At the beginning of the year, we assumed we were better than we were. Now, I think we want it a lot more."

McDonogh dominated play early, outshooting Mercy 11-5 in the first half. However, the Eagles didn't crack the Magic's quick-responding defense until the half's final minute.

A hard, high shot by Andrzejewski flew across the goal mouth and into the hands of Mercy's freshman goalkeeper, Liz Lombardo. But Lombardo couldn't pull the ball in, giving Zanti an easy header into the left corner of the goal with 34 seconds left in the first.

Meanwhile, Mercy (12-3-3, 7-3-2) seemed tentative in the midfield and had difficulties moving the ball upfield. The Magic didn't finish its chances either, putting just three of its 12 shots on goal.

"It was frustrating at times," Mercy coach Kevin Cromwell said. "But we still had four or five of those really good chances. Sometimes their goalkeeper came up big, and other times we didn't execute. And you need to convert those when you're playing McDonogh."

After Mercy had controlled the ball for a five-minute stretch on its offensive end in the second half, McDonogh pushed the ball back quickly the other way and caught the Magic defense backpedaling. Off the counterattack, Andrzejewski then created an open shot for herself and scored from 7 yards, increasing the Eagles' advantage to 2-0 with 7: 20 left in the game.

Mercy did chip back, as Kaitie Schuyler put back a rebound with three minutes remaining. The Magic had two free kicks in the final 48 seconds but couldn't avert its first loss in four games.

"We're not the favorite; John Carroll is No. 1," McDonogh coach Maurice Boylan said. "But the only rankings that count are the ones at the end of the year. We're not good enough to look past anybody, but we're good enough to beat anybody."

Pub Date: 10/30/98

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