McDonogh’s top-ranked girls soccer team had a post-season checklist. First, the Eagles wanted a little revenge against No. 3 Mercy, which upset them in the IAAM A Conference semifinals round a year ago.
McDonogh knocked off the Magic, 3-2, in Thursday’s semifinals match to advance to the title game on Saturday night at Anne Arundel Community College.
Next, the Eagles wanted to win the first league title in team history. But it would have to go through rival Archbishop Spalding, which had won three of the last four titles.
Freshman forward Casey Martinez scored an opportunistic goal in sudden-death overtime to lift McDonogh to a 2-1 victory over the Cavaliers, clinching the championship.
“I am so happy for Casey, she works extremely hard,“ said McDonogh’s second-year coach coach Harry Canellakis. “I think if you asked her, she might tell you that she didn’t have her best game tonight. I don’t think she’s thinking that at all right now.”
The Eagles finished the season 16-1-1 overall, including an unbeaten 9-0-1 mark in conference play and won their own McDonogh Tournament for the first time in 10 years.
Senior midfielder Ashley Spivey sent a cross-pass to Taylor Cummings, who crashed into Spalding goalie Jocelyn McCoy. The ball trickled to the far side of the net, where Martinez kicked in for the win.
“I know that Spalding is one of our biggest rivals ever and the seniors really had that instilled in their hearts and I’m just a freshman,” said Martinez. “I got just a little, tiny glimpse of that feeling and I was already angry. Just imagining what the seniors were feeling, being setback by Spalding for so many years and now we’ve finally overcome them.”
Martinez’ family is no stranger to winning championships. In 1983, her grandfather Tippy Martinez helped the Baltimore Orioles win the American League Pennant and later, the World Series. Casey said her grandfather hasn’t missed one game all season.
“She is my little prodigy,” said Spivey about Martinez. “I am so glad that Casey Martinez picked to go to McDonogh and I said from the very beginning that she was going to score a big goal; scoring the winning goal in a championship game in your freshman year, it’s the highlight of our [season].”
Midway through the first half, Cavaliers defender Julie Hibberd was called for a tripping foul on Cummings that set up a direct kick from about 20-yards out.
Spivey took the kick and drilled it into the top of net to give the Eagles a 1-0 advantage in the 18th minute.
“I don’t know how my free kicks go, they just go and angle and it just happened to go right-upper 90, it was awesome,” Spivey said. “This is my first goal against Spalding in three years. This is my first win against Spalding in three years and the feeling is just unbelievable.”
The score remained unchanged for the next 53 minutes and the run of play was pretty even by both teams until Spalding senior forward Maggie Morrison made magic happen again for the Cavaliers (16-4-3).
After a throw-in by Nicolina Boretti, Francesca Springer lifted a pass to Morrison, who made a run and finished past McDonogh goalie Morgan Ruhl (five saves) to tie the match with nine minutes left in regulation.
In the semifinal contest with John Carroll on Thursday, Morrison scored with 30 seconds left to give the Cavaliers a 1-0 win.
The rules of the IAAM playoffs state that the first team to score in overtime wins, instead of the customary rule of playing two, 10-minute overtimes to determine the winner.
Martinez scored with about three minutes into overtime to dethroned the two-time defending champion Cavaliers.
“It’s hard to battle back from a deficit, especially in soccer,” said Spalding coach Bob Dieterle. “We weren’t going to quit. We came back, battled for a hard-fought goal and I give [McDonogh] credit. They scored that goal in overtime and that’s the way it is.”
He added: “I’ve never been a fan of golden goal [rule], even when we win, I don’t like it.”
CLICK RELATED VIDEOS TABS AT TOP OF ARTICLE FOR GAME HIGHLIGHTS.
|No. 1 McDonogh 2, No. 2 Archbishop Spalding 1|
Spalding-Morrison; McDonogh-Spivey, Martinez.
Spalding-McCoy 6; McDonogh-Ruhl 5.