No. 1 McDonogh rolls Spalding for IAAM A soccer repeat; Catholic and Roland Park Country reach championship status (VIDEO HERE!)


by Derek Toney

The rematch was a mismatch.

The anticipated girls soccer showdown for No. 1 between McDonogh School and Archbishop Spalding was all No. 1 McDonogh, which posted a resounding 5-0 victory over the second-ranked Cavaliers in the IAAM A Conference title match at Anne Arundel Community College Saturday evening.

The wait is over for Roland Park Country School and The Catholic School of Baltimore. The Cubs claimed the C trophy with a 3-0 decision over Annapolis Area Christian School, while Roland Park Country rallied for a 2-1 victory over Maryvale Prep in the B final.

2018 IAAM C CONFERENCE SOCCER CHAMPIONS

THE CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL OF BALTIMORE CUBS

After a scoreless first half, Catholic did all its scoring in a four-minute stretch midway in the second half to secure its first IAAM league title. Senior midfielder Sara Morales scored two goals and Baylee Lindsay added a tally.

With a mix of veterans and newcomers, Catholic steadily progressed.

“We all really wanted this,” said Cubs senior tri-captain and attack Allison Floyd. “The freshmen came in with a good amount of skill and determination.”

It was the senior leadership that punch Catholic’s championship ticket Saturday as Lindsay settled a deflected ball and placed a shot from about 30 yards into the net in the 56th minute. Morales scored back-to-back tallies to make it 3-0.

Catholic lost to Annapolis Area Christian, 5-0, during the regular season.

“That was our very first game of the season, so we were feeling them out in the first half,” said Morales, who will play lacrosse and soccer at the College of Notre Dame next school year. “In the second half, Bailey took one from the 18 and we got super pumped.”

The defensive back unit of juniors Ava Defelice and Kate Foley, freshman Olivia Stone and Morales did the rest as the Baltimore City private school posted its fifth shutout of the season. Sophomore Cristen Roche had three saves.

The Cubs are scheduled to return starters Defelice, Foley, Stone, Maddy Mattare, Olivia Angelini, Kelly Donnelly, Maria Cary and Regena Gomes among 17 letter winners next season. Catholic went 10-1-1 after an 0-2 start.

“Throughout the season, we felt pretty good. They started to gel together,” said Cubs second-year coach Bonnie Sandone.  “In the semifinals, we started looking like we had it together.”

“At tryouts I noticed how much potential we had and was excited about what we could do,” said Morales, who led Catholic to the IAAM C lacrosse title last spring. “We worked hard every day practice and took it one game at a time, especially during the playoffs.”

2018 IAAM B CONFERENCE SOCCER CHAMPIONS

ROLAND PARK COUNTRY SCHOOL REDS

The postseason has brought heartache to Roland Park Country School this decade. There was finally joy Saturday for the Reds.

Senior forward Mia Clary and freshman Georgia Szoke each tallied for Roland Park Country, which completed a perfect run through league play. It’s the first IAAM title for the Baltimore City private school.

The Reds did it the hard way, scoring twice in the second half and defensively squeezing Maryvale. Roland Park lost title games in 2014 (St. Mary’s), 2013 (Friends School) and 2010 (Bryn Mawr School).

The current squad received letters of support from former Red players.

“We had to win,” said Clary.

It was the present (Clary) and future (Stozke) who helped exorcised Roland Park’s past postseason demons. Off a free kick, Clary curled a shot around the Maryvale wall and past the outstretched hands of Lion goalie Grace Morgan into the right corner, tying the game in the 57th minute.

About six minutes later, Szoke, who put Roland Park in Championship Saturday with her overtime goal Thursday against Mount de Sales Academy, raced onto a through ball from Amani Green. Szoke fought off a Lions defender and put a shot past Morgan.

“No matter what happening, if we’re down by a goal or two goals, they know how to win close games. We proved it over and over again,” said Pierce. “That’s been the biggest difference from what has happened in the past. We didn’t give up.”

Maryvale, seeking its first league crown since a back-to-back run in 2007 and 2006, struck first as junior Abby Miller one-timed a shot into the upper portion. The Reds had a chance to go up 2-o, but after a tremendous effort by Green to elude her defender, Green’s shot caromed off the crossbar.

The Reds’ defense, which lost junior Sade’ Johnson to an ACL during Thursday’s semifinals, got a better handle of the Lions in the second half. Roland Park allowed three goals over the final eight decisions.

Pierce, who’s been on the sidelines for Roland Park’s title misses this decade, said this year’s squad was resilient.

“No matter what happen, everyone refused to back down to whatever challenges we faced,” said Pierce in his fifth season as coach after being an assistant for four. “That was amazing…sweetest victory ever.”

2018 IAAM A CONFERENCE SOCCER CHAMPIONS

MCDONOGH SCHOOL EAGLES

During the second half of Saturday’s A final, a longtime area soccer reporter said the 2018 McDonogh squad is the best of its championship squads. The statement was a little stunning considering the past McDonogh title squads had elite players like Ashley Spivey, Kia Rankin and Bridgette Andrzejewski.

But what the Eagles did to their longtime rival Spalding was stunning. A couple of weeks after a tightly contested match that ended up in a tie, McDonogh was dominant in its penultimate match of the season.

“You always talk about ending on a high note and playing your best soccer…I’m very proud of the players,” said Eagles coach Harry Canellakis. “They were fantastic tonight, almost unplayable at certain times during the game.”

“We’ve been really looking good in the playoffs against Mercy and Glenelg Country and working hard all season in practice,” said Julia Dorsey. “We knew tonight was not about skill but about heart. It takes heart in the playoffs especially in the championship.”

McDonogh (15-0-2 overall) found its inner Golden State Warriors Saturday, combining determination, depth and immense skill, to win its seventh IAAM A title in nine seasons. Sophomore midfielder Bailey DeSmith recorded a second half hat trick, and Aria Bilal and Lilly McCarthy each tallied.

The Cavaliers and Eagles played a 2-2 draw Oct. 17 at McDonogh. After a slow start, the Eagles overcame a 2-0 deficit over the final 30 minutes of regulation.

After 100 minutes of action and dusk settling over McDonogh’s bermuda field, the teams exchanged handshakes and hugs. There was a strong feeling another chapter of the area’s best soccer rivalry would be written under the AACC’s lights Saturday.

The Eagles were ready.

“He [Canellakis] wants us to erase the memory of the previous game and all our records and come at this clean and strong,” said Bilal.

Bilal, a sophomore reserve forward, set the tone. Seconds after entering the game, she got a pass from Dorsey, dribbled a couple of steps and ripped a laser into the left corner in the 16th minute.

“She [Bilal] gives us pace,” said Canellakis.

Controlling play at midfield, McDonogh went to work over the final 40 minutes. DeSmit got a pass from McCarthy and put a shot past Spalding standout netminder Jillian Savageau in the 48th minute.

Off quick and precise ball movement, DeSmit finished a McCarthy feed in the 54th minute. McCarthy made it 4-0 (Bilal assist) before DeSmit completed her hat trick in the 68th minute.

“It was mainly our energy and goal to win this game from the start,” said DeSmit. “Once we got the first goal, we got the momentum. We knew we had to score more than one goal.”

The Cavaliers (14-1-2), the only other than McDonogh to own an IAAM A championship since 2007, were near flawless entering Saturday, with ties against McDonogh and Good Counsel.

They had no answers for McDonogh’s perfect performance Saturday.

“Hands down, all of their players – every single player – was on. And when you have that, it’s like a force.” said Spalding coach Ashly Kennedy, who commended seniors Abby Hanks, Abby Jeanneault, Jenna Snead, Fifi Iluyomade and Savageau. “At the same time, with us, I think certain things didn’t go our way and sometimes that effects the momentum of a game and it shifts the score. I think my team competed, but unfortunately we didn’t get the back end of it.”

Neither team show signs of slowing down, especially McDonogh which have 18 letter winners, including Saturday starters Olivia Ozbolt, Kalli Wethern, Cecily Pokigo, Kemper Robinson, McCarthy, Alayna Lynchard, DeSmit and Kelsey Smith, set to return in 2019.

“Every year is different. I’m not even thinking about the future right now,” said Canellakis. “I’m very happy with tonight and very proud of the players.”

“We have such team camaraderie. We play for each other and I wouldn’t want to be with any other girls,” said Dorsey, a North Carolina soccer and lacrosse recruit who will play her final game along with senior mate Dani Peay, Ryann Yospa and Abby VanMetre. “It feels so good to finish champions and unbeaten in my senior year.”