After 79 minutes of scoreless soccer, it looked as if the IAAM A Conference semifinal game between No. 2 Archbishop Spalding and No. 6 John Carroll would go into overtime for the third straight time that these two teams squared off.

But Cavaliers senior forward Maggie Morrison had other ideas.  With 30 seconds left, the All-Metro selection received a pass from Francesca Springer and made a run to the goal.  Patriots goalie Gina Maiorana came up to make a play on the ball and Morrison slipped it just out of her reach to lift Spalding over visiting John Carroll, 1-0.

“To be honest, it could have gone either way,” said Morrison, who has scored 30 goals this year.  “We played them in the regular season and we tied 1-1.  We know they can score, they are a tough team defensively and their goalie is very strong.”

She added: “We just got the lucky ball today; it definitely could have gone either way.”

“If I had it, I would have taken.  If any of us had it, we’ve take it but we with Maggie, we knew she could definitely finish it so we were trying to find her.” said Springer of the winning goal.

In the regular season, the teams played to a 1-1 tie and in last season’s A Conference semifinals, a late Spalding goal by then-senior Courtney Hoyes tied the match at 1-1 and forced overtime.  The Cavaliers went on to win that match and the league crown for the second year in a row.

“John Carroll is very strong on defense,” said Cavaliers coach Bob Dieterle.  “Historically, we’ve had some phenomenal games with them and they deserve a tremendous amount of credit. They come to play, they are very well coached and very disciplined.  They give you everything they have for the entire game and it always seems to be one of these classic battles.”

The Patriots’ defense did an outstanding job of containing a strong Spalding attack.  Maiorana made 10 saves in the game and backs Morgan Fraczkowski, Kiana Wright, Shelby Foit and Becky Hottle played stellar games.

“We knew coming in that our defense had to be strong, everyone had to stay on their marks and we needed to have the same mentality that everyone had to be on their games,” said Maiorana.

Despite pretty much controlling the run of play throughout the game, the Cavaliers (16-3-3) found it hard to get past the John Carroll (13-3-3) defense and the times that they did, they couldn’t quite find the net.

Early in the second half, Mo Ostrowski played a ball to Morrison who had a good angle but pushed the shot wide of the goal.  Later, Maiorana made a leaping, one-handed save on a Morrison shot that looked destined for the back of the net.

“We tried a couple different ways of attacking them,” Dieterle said.  “We tried attacking up the middle, going wide and even tried sending Maggie over there in an attempt to draw a couple of players. They wouldn’t bend except for that last play and that was just talent on Maggie’s part.”

Spalding out-shot the Patriots, 21-4 during the course of the game with 11 shots making it on goal.  The Cavaliers held a 9-1 advantage in corner kicks.  But with 30 seconds left in regulation, John Carroll had weathered the storm and looked toward overtime.

“The first half was their game the whole time but the second half, I thought was much more competitive,” said John Carroll coach Gary Lynch.  “We knew what we had to do to stay with them but unfortunately, we couldn’t hold it for another minute.”

Saturday’s title game with McDonogh will take place at Anne Arundel Community College, at 7:00 p.m.


No. 2 Archbishop Spalding 1, No. 3 John Carroll 0
John Carroll-Maiorana 10; Spalding-McCoy 3.