Youthful Saints shock No. 1 J. Carroll, 3-2 to gain Catholic final Sophomore Anderson scores in OT to win it

Girls soccer

November 06, 1998|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The St. Mary's Saints began this season searching for ways to fill the void left by the graduation of four four-year starters.

They will end it about the farthest place from where most thought they would -- in the Catholic League championship game.

Sophomore Melissa Anderson's goal with just over two minutes left in overtime gave the unranked Saints a thrilling 3-2 win over host top-ranked John Carroll yesterday in the semifinals.

St. Mary's (10-9-1) advanced to tomorrow's 1 p.m. Catholic League final at Goucher College, where it will face No. 2-ranked McDonogh, a 3-0 winner over Notre Dame Prep.

The Saints knew they had to play near-perfect ball to have a chance, and for most of the way, they did just that.

"We played extremely well," said St. Mary's coach Jerry Tobin, whose team had dropped two one-goal games to the Patriots during the regular season. "We just got a break at the end to put it away, but it was really back and forth the whole time."

St. Mary's -- which was outshot, 18-11 -- got a huge emotional lift just 30 seconds into the game when Kelly Hammond took a pass from Kerie Sample and beat goalie Maggie Pyzik to her left to give the Saints a 1-0 lead.

"We've never really been ahead that quick in a game," said Anderson. "I think it did a lot for us."

Said John Carroll coach Gary Lynch: "They just caught us off guard. It really surprised us."

St. Mary's missed a golden opportunity to extend the lead when Athena Gramates' shot hit the bottom of the crossbar and bounced in front of the goal before Pyzik smothered it.

Minutes later, the Patriots pulled even, as Lindsey Syphard dribbled in from midfield and crossed to Erica Korecky, who scored to make it 1-1 with just over 33 minutes left in the first half.

From there, the game turned into a see-saw battle, with both teams taking turns controlling the action. The teams traded goals in the second half. John Carroll took the lead on Megan Sparks' effort following a corner by Jenny Biscoe, and the Saints' answered on Kelly Bertwell's perfectly angled direct kick from 30 yards with 15 minutes to play.

The Patriots suffered a major blow with about eight minutes left in regulation when Biscoe, their top scorer and one of the best offensive players in the area, was involved in a collision and left the game with an undetermined injury to her right knee. Though she walked off the field with assistance from trainers, she did not return.

St. Mary's won it in overtime, when Anderson scored off a feed from Gramates on a defensive breakdown.

"Somebody passed a perfect ball through to my feet, and all I did was cut to one side and tap it in the goal," said Anderson.

Said Lynch: "You just can't give up three goals and expect to win. St. Mary's played a heck of a game, but at the same time, our defense let us down a bit today."

Saints players said the experience of losing to John Carroll twice during the season -- including a bitter defeat in the teams' previous meeting when the Patriots scored the winner with 10 seconds left -- provided more than enough inspiration.

"It made us totally go out there and try harder to win this," said Anderson.

Pub Date: 11/06/98

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