Inspired Saints claim IAAM `A' crown

No. 1 St. Mary's defeats No. 2 McDonogh, 2-0, even without top player

Girls soccer

High Schools

November 05, 2001|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

When St. Mary's girls soccer coach Jerry Tobin learned that his best player, midfielder Kelly Hammond, had broken her collarbone in a powder puff football game on the eve of the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland's A Conference championship game, he figured his team would be overtaken by one of two emotions: devastation or inspiration.

Devastation may have grabbed the early lead, but inspiration won going away.

Hammond gave the pre-game pep talk, then watched from the bench as the No. 1 Saints got a second-half goal from Mary Key and another late from Kristen Anderson to beat No. 2 McDonogh, 2-0, and win the IAAM A Conference title at the College of Notre Dame yesterday.

"I think when we first heard Kelly couldn't play, we were like, `Great, we're losing,' " said Saints junior Sarah Sample. "We knew we'd be missing a huge part of our energy and intensity without her, but she got us fired up beforehand, and we came out with the will to win and the desire to do it for her."

Sample was a big reason why St. Mary's (19-1-1) celebrated its second consecutive IAAM title (the Saints also defeated McDonogh, 2-0, last year), and their fourth overall. The athletic midfielder was everywhere on defense, stealing passes, winning balls out of the air and helping slow McDonogh's fast-paced offense to a crawl at times.

Offensively, Sample helped the Saints strike the game's biggest blow when she fired a pass in the direction of Eagles keeper Mariel Wilner, which Key deflected in mid-flight into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead in the 50th minute.

"I was kind of trying to judge which way Sarah would send the ball, and I could feel the goalie behind me kind of leaning one way," Key said. "I just flicked it inside and it went in."

Key's goal, her third in the last two games, was significant for two reasons. Not only did it give the Saints the lead against a team that doesn't give up many scores, it gave the Saints an extra dose of confidence at a time when they were plenty grateful.

"We wanted this game so bad from the beginning, we weren't going to let anything stop us," Key said.

McDonogh (16-5) had some scattered chances, but couldn't find the ingredient to produce a much-needed goal.

Eagles All-Metro midfielder Ali Andrzejewski had a shot from in close in the opening minutes, but Saints keeper Katy Owings guessed right and pulled it.

Even when Owings guessed wrong, twice getting caught outside the box without the ball, her teammates were there for her.

Erin Spaniol cleared a ball of the goal line that bounced over a charging Owings' head in the first half, and Meghan Ryan cleared another ball late in the game when McDonogh freshman Brittany Tegeler appeared to have a chance at an open net.

Anderson scored off a cross from Jennifer Dunbar with six seconds left to cap off the victory for the Saints.

"The whole team played good defense today, not just our three in the back," Tobin said. "We won the ball, we possessed the ball and we controlled the ball a good percentage of the time. Both teams had some chances offensively, but we had a few more and I think ours were better."

The loss certainly didn't take away from Andrzejewski's brilliant career or season. She led McDonogh with 19 goals and 11 assists on the year, and carried the Eagles emotionally on and off the field.

"It's really hard for our seniors right now knowing that it's over," Andrzejewski said. "It's been really special to be a part of this program this year. I'm more proud of this team than any team I've ever played with."

B Conference Championship

Linda Horcasitas and Kim Henry each scored a goal as St. John's defeated Key School, 2-0, to win it's second straight IAAM B Conference Championship at Notre Dame College. Henry, St. John's career scoring leader, got her 12th goal of the year in the second half to seal the win.

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