Wethern’s goal helps No. 2 McDonogh top Mercy for IAAM A soccer championship (VIDEO HERE!!!)
by Derek Toney
Kalli Wethern wasn’t sure how many goals she scored this fall for McDonogh School’s girls’ soccer team when asked Sunday night. Wethern and the Eagles won’t soon forget the last one she scored.
The sophomore forward/midfielder tallied in the final minute of regulation, giving No. 2 McDonogh a 1-0 victory over 15th-ranked Mercy in the IAAM A Conference championship game at Stevenson University’s Mustang Stadium.
It’s the fourth title in five seasons for the Eagles (15-1-2), who have won six A crowns since 2010. McDonogh and St. Mary’s (three A titles), which won the B crown Saturday at Anne Arundel Community College, are tied for the most soccer titles in IAAM history.
The Eagles owe a huge debt to Wethern for the latest crown. She rose out of a pack to get Lily McCarthy’s corner kick and headed the ball into the goal for the game’s only score.
“It was a really great cross and I was end of it, right place at the right time,” said Wethern. “I just popped it in.”
In a match that saw McDonogh missed a host of opportunities, it was finally able to capitalize and end Mercy’s Cinderella-like run. The Magic (10-8-2), in its first A title match since 2008, knocked off top-ranked and defending champ Archbishop Spalding Thursday and played its third postseason match in six days Sunday evening.
The Northern Parkway school wasn’t tired or overwhelmed by the moment Sunday.
“It hurts right now, but what they did in the last three days playing two of the best teams in the country pretty even – with an extra game, it’s just priceless,” said Mercy coach Doug Pryor. “It was a great effort today and it just came down to one play.”
McDonogh coach Harry Canellakis tipped his hat to a worthy opponent.
“Not only the fact that they got here beating the No. 1 seed, but then to play three games in one week and sustain the effort through the whole game was a fantastic tribute to them.”
Mercy, which outlasted Spalding on penalty kicks, rode a tight defensive effort and used star forward Ada Clare Tempert as the main threat on the top offensively.
Tempert got an opportunity with about 1:30 left in regulation, after getting a through ball from Olivia Werner. The junior forward sent a right-footed shot from about 15 yards that McDonogh goalie Abby VanMetre easily captured.
McDonogh’s Kemper Robinson’s kick went off Mercy defender Mia Ramirez, giving the Eagles a corner kick. OfWethern knocked the ball into the right corner of the net.
Wethern knew the Eagles had to make something happen with overtime looming.
“We had to keep pushing and we did it,” said Wethern. “I was really worried about time.”
“There isn’t a more appropriate person to get that goal,” said Canellakis. “Her level of commitment on what she’s battled through in terms of a couple of injuries, she’s been great.”
So was Mercy, which defeated John Carroll School in Tuesday’s opening round before eliminating Spalding in penalty kicks. The Magic lost two one-goal decisions to McDonogh during the regular season.
“I thought we were pretty dead even tonight. We sat back a little bit and they surrounded my No. 10 [Tempert] with four players and it worked,” said Pryor. “I thought if were going to get into trouble it would be on corner kicks. Sooner or later, it’s going to find someone.”
That someone was Wethern, one of 13 sophomores and freshmen on the Eagles’ roster. McDonogh only graduates tri-captains Lily Stavisky, Maddie Jenner and Cassie Blyth.
Canellakis was proud with young team’s resolve in a tense match.
“For me, the best thing about tonight with a young group is we didn’t score early with a lot of possession and a lot of chances, but I never really felt like we panicked,” Canellakis said.
“We stayed calm, we stayed composed and we kept fighting,” said. “They came to play and so did we.”
IAAM A CONFERENCE SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP
AT STEVENSON UNIVERSITY
NO. 1 MCDONOGH SCHOOL 1, NO. 15 MERCY 0
Mercy 0 0 – 0
McDonogh 0 1 – 1
Goal: McDonogh – Kalli Wethern
Assist: McDonogh – Lily McCarthy
Saves: Mercy – McDermott 6; McDonogh – VanMetre 3