John Carroll halts River Hill challenge, 1-0

Hawks have their chances with 4 corner kicks, but No. 1 Patriots tighten, win

Girls soccer

September 18, 2004|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Opponents are learning that when you get an opportunity against the John Carroll girls soccer team, you'd better take advantage.

No. 6 River Hill had four corner kicks but failed to convert any of them, and the top-ranked Patriots used senior forward Ashley Myers' first-half goal to hold off the Hawks, 1-0, in Bel Air yesterday.

Defense was the key for John Carroll (5-0), which relied on the foursome of seniors Christine Luongo and Rachel Layer, junior Allison DiPetro and sophomore Jessica Hnatiuk to limit River Hill (2-1) to just five shots.

"We pressure every ball," Layer said of the Patriots' defensive strategy, which has allowed just one goal and collected four shutouts. "That's the goal in every game - a shutout.

"We're extremely strong offensively, and we want to back it up defensively."

John Carroll needed every bit of its defense in the game's opening 12 minutes as the Hawks earned two corner kicks and junior midfielder Katie Barbera just missed converting a centering feed from freshman midfielder Janie Tankard.

"They came out better than we did," Patriots coach Gary Lynch said. "But I think our ability to withstand that and play strong, that's what it's all about. That's what it came down to."

Added Myers: "We were a little bit slow. We needed to get organized and step up to every ball."

After John Carroll weathered the initial flurry, the Patriots struck. Sophomore forward Melissa Gomes carried the ball down the right side of the field, evaded a River Hill defender, and floated a centering pass.

Although freshman forward Allison Carey could not connect on an attempt at a one-timer, she had the presence of mind to send the ball back to Myers, who drilled it into the right corner at the 20:05 mark of the first half.

John Carroll might have added some goals if not for the solid play of Hawks senior goalie Katy Hudson, who faced 12 shots on goal and saved 11.

River Hill had more chances in the second half.

Sophomore midfielder Erika Theisen was alone on a breakaway, but Patriots senior goalie Ange Gaeta blocked the shot.

Gaeta, who registered four saves, also turned aside close-in attempts from senior defender Liz Csanady and freshman midfielder Erica Sutor to preserve the shutout.

"We had our chances," said Hawks coach Willie Ibarra. "If we got one, the momentum would've gone to our side. At the end of the day, John Carroll made us play better, and there's nothing more we could've asked for."

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