Archbishop Spalding coach Ashly Kennedy liked that her girls soccer team held a two-goal halftime lead in Tuesday’s game at Mercy. But during the break, Kennedy told her Cavaliers that they could take command if they played more efficiently on offense.
They followed their coach’s orders and broke the game open with six second-half goals, and top-ranked Spalding rolled to an 8-0 victory over No. 10 Mercy in an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference matchup.
Spalding (6-0-2, 3-0-1) found several first-half scoring chances to take a 2-0 halftime lead. Still, the Cavaliers weren’t passing well at times, especially in the 18-yard box, and they could have done more in the first 40 minutes.
“The first half was [all right], but we didn’t find ourselves until the second half,” Kennedy said.
They found themselves in a big way, scoring six goals in under 30 minutes to blow the game open. The goals all resulted from good long passes or slick footwork in the box that Mercy (6-3, 1-3) couldn’t defend.
Abby Hanks, Jenna Snead, Asiah Manu and Zoe Lape all had one goal and one assist. Olivia Burkowski, Courtney Corcoran, Val LaMore and Zandy Gardner each scored once.
Lauren Policelli and Abby Jeanneault both had one assist. The Cavaliers made a variety of passes that would spring teammates for breakaways or set them up for good shots.
It happened time and time again in the second half.
“I definitely think a lot of our [success was] we were able to find each other’s foot,” Manu said. “I think the score definitely showed how well we played together. The chemistry was amazing.”
On the first goal of the second half – which made it 3-0 – Snead settled a ball in the box and tapped it over to Manu, who quickly put it into the left corner past Mercy goalie Alivia McDermott (nine saves) with 33:05 left.
Nine minutes later, a pass by Hanks sprung Burkowski on a breakaway, and she scored easily. Corcoran followed with a 20-yard shot just under the crossbar 85 seconds later for a 5-0 lead.
Lamore and Lape scored the next two goals. Lape then got one of the best assists of the game on the last score, heading a pass backwards that let Gardner break in alone and score for the 8-0 final.
Mercy did have its chances, in both halves, as the Magic tested starting goalie Jillian Savageau. But the junior made 11 saves before leaving in the second half.
Ada Clare Tempert made several good long runs, using her speed to try to cause problems for the Spalding defense, but the Cavaliers stopped her each time. One of Mercy’s top scoring chances came late in the first half when Palina Jordan fired a 10-yard shot that Savageau caught with 30 seconds left.
Even though the Magic did find several second-half scoring opportunities, it was all Spalding.
Mercy coach Doug Pryor said he’s got a young team, and he’s hoping they can learn from this game. Some lessons in the A Conference are just harder than others.
“I think we’re just not ready mentally for that next step,” Pryor said. “It’s a good lesson learned. We’ll see how we respond to this.”
Goals: S- Hanks, Snead, Manu, Burkowski, Corcoran, LaMore, Lape, Gardner. Assists: S- Manu, Snead, Hanks, Policelli, Lape, Jeanneault. Saves: S- Savageau 11, Davis 3; M- McDermott 9, DeCarlo 6. Half: S, 2-0.