No. 1 NDP turns tables on No. 10 St. Mary's, 3-1

Final made after topping 3-time defending champs

IAAM A Conference soccer

High Schools

October 31, 2003|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

The accomplishment was significant yesterday, but the celebration was not excessively exuberant. The top-ranked Notre Dame Prep girls soccer team understands there's still work to be done.

With goals from Zoey Bouchelle, Kayce Blandford and Beth Koloup highlighting a collectively strong effort, the Blazers took out No. 10 St. Mary's - winner of the past three Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference crowns - with a 3-1 home win that sent them to the championship game.

Runners-up to St. Mary's last season, the Blazers (13-1) will play No. 5 John Carroll in a bid for their first conference title. Game time is set for 3 p.m. Sunday at Mount Washington Field.

"Ever since I've been here, St. Mary's has beaten us either in the semifinals or the finals last year, so this year we really wanted this. We just wanted to play strong the whole game and get the win," Blandford said.

It was Blandford's clean strike from 20 yards - a shot that quickly found the top left corner with 19 minutes to play - that gave the Blazers a 2-0 lead.

Blandford's effort proved to be the game-winner as the Saints (12-6-1) got a handful of stellar stops from goalkeeper Marie Oben (11 saves) and then a goal off Jamie Latta's direct kick to cut the lead to 2-1.

St. Mary's midfielder Jen Naylor had a direct kick from 25 yards that bounced off the crossbar with eight minutes to play, and then the Blazers kept the ball most of the final minutes and got a goal from Koloup in the final seconds.

"We knew it was going to be an extremely tough game and we gave it our best shot, but the better team won and this time it wasn't us," said Naylor.

Notre Dame Prep coach Chris Lopez believes his team will benefit from last year's 2-1 double-overtime championship loss.

"Everything was so new to us last year," he said. "It was a whole other world, and the kids were kind of wide-eyed. Hopefully, we'll go into it with a little more sense of what's going on and a better perspective on it."

No. 5 John Carroll 5, Seton Keough 0: Emily Horwath (two goals) and Jamie Zimmerman (one goal, three assists) helped the Patriots (14-4-1) easily advance to the title game.

John Carroll, which lost by 2-0 to Notre Dame Prep in the regular season, seeks its second conference crown.

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