Winners of the past two Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championships, the Archbishop Spalding girls soccer team displays an air of confidence at the most opportune times.
For a second straight year, the No. 2 Cavaliers relied on such confidence in the closing seconds of the league semifinals against No. 7 John Carroll.
All-Metro senior forward Maggie Morrison provided the magic moment, scoring with 10 seconds left in regulation to send the Cavaliers to Saturday's championship game with a 1-0 win over the Patriots.
Spalding (16-3-3) will meet McDonogh, which beat Mercy, 3-2, in Thursday's other semifinal, at 7 p.m. Saturday at Anne Arundel Community College. John Carroll ended its season with a 13-3-3 record.
Frustrated but undeterred by a stubborn John Carroll defense, Morrison collected a pass from Francesca Springer and raced down the left side to reach the end line before putting away a left-footed shot from in close for the deciding goal.
"We know we're always going to give our all, and we also knew John Carroll is a tough team, so we feel fortunate to pull it out today," said Morrison, who has 20goals and seven assists this season. "I definitely I think it's the amount of heart we have; we all want to win and we have such a past legacy that we know we have a target on our back, but it also makes us work that much harder."
The Cavaliers dominated the scoreless first half and had the better of the play in the second, with the Patriots content to defend. John Carroll junior goalie Gina Maiorana was superb with eight saves, and the Patriots also got strong performances from senior sweeper Morgan Fraczkowski and sophomore marking back Kiana Wright.
In last season's semifinal game between the teams, the Cavaliers got a tying goal with six seconds left in regulation before winning, 2-1, with a goal in the closing minutes of the second overtime.
Goal: S ÃƒÂ‚Ã‚Â– Morrison..Assist: S--Springer. Saves: JCMaiorana 8; S--McCoy 2. Half: 0-0.