No. 1 Spalding edges Mercy, 1-0

Girls soccer

High Schools

October 01, 2005|By GLENN P. GRAHAM | GLENN P. GRAHAM,SUN REPORTER

That Archbishop Spalding midfielder Kelly Vereb didn't have much time or space when the ball found her feet late in yesterday's game at Mercy wasn't much of a surprise.

After all, the game featured two of the most organized and toughest defenses in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference, and both sides were more than holding down their ends.

That didn't matter to Vereb.

Despite plenty of traffic in front, the senior captain managed to find the lower left corner with 10 minutes left - a clean strike from 25 yards - to lift the No. 1 Cavaliers over No. 8 Mercy, 1-0.

Spalding (9-2 overall) is now 6-0 in the IAAM and has yet to allow a goal in conference play, working on a string of seven straight shutouts. Yesterday's win was the Cavaliers' third consecutive by 1-0 over a ranked opponent, and it put them all alone atop the conference with Mercy (7-4-1, 6-1).

Vereb, who has three goals and one assist, was the latest offensive hero for the Cavaliers.

"I just saw the far corner and went for it," she said. "The ball came across and I saw that I had a through ball, but I also saw the open shot, so I just ripped it.

"Fortunately, we've been able to pull through these games, and that's one of the greatest things about this team is that we keep going until the end."

Mercy played its typically strong defensive game, led by Kristen Carr and LaShawna Epps. The Magic's best scoring chance came in the first half when senior Tamara George got behind the defense and hit a shot from 15 yards that was deflected away by Spalding sophomore goalie Karen Blocker.

"I'm not disappointed with our group," Mercy coach Albert Oni said. "I think the girls really worked hard and the game really could have gone either way. It kind of gives us an idea of where we're at, and we're showing that we can play with anybody."

Blocker, who received strong support from freshman fullback Erica Page, finished with eight saves to record her eighth shutout of the season.

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

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