In recent years, the Archbishop Spalding-John Carroll girls soccer rivalry has been dominated by one-goal games, overtimes and a big save or dramatic goal often providing the difference.
In Wednesday's Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference opener for both teams, Spalding wasn't having any of that.
The No. 2 Cavaliers were decidedly faster to the ball and hungry in their attacking third of the field, scoring five goals in the first half of a stunningly comfortable 5-0 win over the visiting No. 5 Patriots.
Marissa Brown scored two goals, Kelly Patterson added a goal and an assist and Gracyn Bryant and Sarah Martin also scored. Spalding improves to 3-0-1 on the season, while John Carroll falls to 3-2.
"We just wanted to start off the conference season really well," Bryant said. "We were ready to play hard, and the past few years [against John Carroll] it seemed to gone to overtime every single time, but they played hard and we just played better."
Bryant opened the scoring in the 10th minute with a neatly placed shot from 25 yards that found the upper-right corner. The Cavaliers quickly pushed the ball forward into the Patriots' penalty area, and after one shot was blocked, Lauren Kelly alertly dropped a pass back to Bryant for the 1-0 lead.
That goal set the tone for the rest of the half.
Less than two minutes later, Patterson pounced on a rebound in front to make it 2-0, then Brown scored consecutive goals five minutes apart midway through the half to put the game out of reach.
The Cavaliers had the better of John Carroll the past two seasons — going 3-0-1, which includes two semifinal playoff wins — but the results were two 1-0 victories, a 2-0 win and a 1-1 draw. While two-time defending league champ and No. 1 McDonogh remain the team to beat in the A Conference, the Cavaliers have served early notice that they are primed for a strong run this season, while the younger Patriots will look to make steady progression as the season unfolds.
"There's not much to be said, [Spalding] had a very, very good game," John Carroll coach Gary Lynch said. "We know where our weaknesses are, and they were all under the microscope today. They completely outplayed us. They're physically much stronger than we are, they're faster than we are. They play a very direct game, and we play a small build-up game, and they were able to knock us off the ball early on and we played poorly in the back."
No. 2 Spalding 5, No. 5 John Carroll 0
Goals: S – Brown 2, Martin, Bryant, Patterson.
Assists: S – Patterson, Kelly, Ostrowski, Shehade.
Saves: JC – Cooper 2, Sipos 3, Cumpston 1; S – Babin 4.
Half: S, 5-0.