Spalding secures A Conference title

Schaefer's goal lifts Cavaliers over Pallotti

Maryvale tops Friends in B championship

Girls Soccer

November 06, 2006|By Glenn Graham | Glenn Graham,Sun reporter

After falling short by penalty kicks in last year's Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland's A Conference title game, Archbishop Spalding's top-ranked girls soccer team had lofty expectations that left no margin for error.

The high stakes brought a big reward. Senior forward Molly Schaefer scored with 10 minutes left and the defense did the rest, securing a 1-0 win over Pallotti to give the Cavaliers their first IAAM A Conference championship yesterday at Calvert Hall.

Spalding finished the season with a 19-0-2 mark, getting nine saves from junior goalie Karen Blocker and nothing new from Schaefer, who had seven of her 10 goals prove to be game-winners this season.

"We've wanted this since August and we've practiced for this every day," said Schaefer, who had a tight grasp on the championship dish. "This is what we do this for - to come out here and show that we are the best team around."

Both teams had quality scoring chances go for naught until the Cavaliers made good on a quick counter. Junior midfielder Chelsea Allen sent a ball to the right side for sophomore Erica Page, who sent a through ball inside the penalty area to Schaefer.

From 6 yards to the left of Pallotti goalie Amanda Carter, Schaefer went to the far post for the deciding finish.

"You get a dozen chances every game, and it's that one that you know is going to go in. That may be my best goal of the year of my life. ... This is the biggest game I've ever had in my life. It's pretty sweet," she said.

The Panthers (16-2-1) will look back on a couple of shots that hit the post and others that went just wide, but coach Mike Vawter was more than satisfied with the season and the all-out effort he got from his players yesterday.

A strong senior class of five led by standout forward Annesia Faulkner came to Pallotti as freshmen playing in the B Conference. They set a high standard for the program and left playing in the A Conference championship game.

"When they came in as freshmen, we were an average B Conference team and they've been the catalyst that turned this program around. It's been amazing," Vawter said.

After the two teams played to a 0-0 double overtime tie during the regular season, Blocker was ecstatic to see Schaefer break through with the late goal. She had to make one more save and punch away a corner kick to secure her 16th shutout of the season and the coveted title.

"This team - it's amazing," Blocker said with a big smile. "The team works together perfectly, we work so hard, we just get along so well and it shows on the field. We just play smoothly."

B Conference

Junior Emily Noto scored midway through the first half off an assist from Sam Voelker, as Maryvale edged Friends, 1-0, to give the Lions their first league title since 2002. Maryvale, which blanked Park, 3-0, in the semifinals, went through the regular season with a 6-0-2 league mark.

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

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