McDonogh powers to Catholic title, 2-0 No. 2 Eagles top St. Mary's in tourney final, finish 22-5-1

Girls soccer

November 09, 1998|By Lowell E. Sunderland | Lowell E. Sunderland,SUN STAFF

McDonogh played 28 games this fall, nearly double the number some area schools played. After the first 11, the Eagles were 7-4, respectable but hardly memorable.

At Goucher College yesterday, the No. 2-ranked Eagles made their season definitely one to remember, soundly beating unranked, surprise finalist St. Mary's, 2-0, for the tough Catholic League's tournament championship.

Oh, and make that final record 22-5-1, another thing about this fall the Eagles can savor after losing last season's tourney final to Catholic High. This season, they won their last 12 games and 16 of the last 17. They outscored their last eight opponents 32-2.

"We were working on peaking the last 10 games of the season, and we just kept getting better and better," said McDonogh coach Maurice Boylan Jr., in his fifth tournament final that produced his third title, the others coming in 1993 and 1994. "You just saw everyone get healthy, everyone jelling and peaking at the same time."

The Saints, for sure, saw too much McDonogh yesterday. A young team (10-10-1) that upset No. 1 John Carroll last Thursday to earn the berth in the final and had three freshmen on the field for long stretches, St. Mary's could not cope with the Eagles' desire, confidence and ball movement.

"McDonogh's a little bit faster, a bit more experienced this year," said St. Mary's coach Jerry Tobin, whose clubs often give McDonogh tourney headaches. "They played a great ballgame. We were half-a-step slow and maybe a little timid."

After junior midfielder Rachel Engle, who scored both McDonogh goals, one in each half, put in her second in the 60th minute, the besieged Saints rarely got out of their half of the field.

Athena Gramates, a sophomore, had the Saints' best chances, but missed wide right in the 15th minute and shot over the top in the 47th. McDonogh, by contrast, made numerous challenges, most often from senior midfielder Marissa Schuchat and junior Lisa Zanti.

The Saints' defense had its moments, though. Caught off guard by Engle's first goal, a 30-yard lob from a quick, right-side restart that glanced off the top inside of the left post, the Saints' back line otherwise dealt well with multiple Eagles' moves within 25 yards.

Engle's second goal resulted from crisp execution.

"We had numbers," she said of her fourth goal of an ailment-hampered season and third in two games, "and I saw a space and called for the ball." Midfielder Jeanetta McGettigan got it nicely to her in the box's top-right corner, where Engle shook a defender with a deft touch to the left and fired hard into the lower right corner.

Overall, though, Saints sophomore sweeper Melissa Anderson had several important clears around the top of the box, seniors Sarah Greene and Kelly Bertwell "left it on the field," and senior goalkeeper Amy Mulligan made 11 saves, eight in the second half.

"We've really come on in the last few games," said Maria Smear, a senior midfield standout whom McDonogh frustrated with tight marking. "We just ran out of energy in this last one."

Pub Date: 11/09/98

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