Mercy had to face unranked John Carroll with two of the Sharpshooters' top players out sick for yesterday's Catholic League A Division girls soccer matchup.
But it didn't matter.
"They sucked it up when they had to and did what they had to do to win. With the two players out sick we had to go to the bench and the bench came through," said coach Bob Doerfler, after watching his 15th-ranked team improve to 5-1 with a 2-0 victory on Mercy's home field at Loch Raven Middle School.
"This is a team thing and the kids know that they have to learn how to play more than one position. We're not that many, so one thing we stress is that you have to learn how to play a number of positions."
The Sharpshooters, who were without fullback Kristen Schaffer and halfback Anne Balcer, got on the scoreboard 6:23 into the first half on an unassisted goal by junior Heather Miskiewicz.
Miskiewicz picked up her third goal of the season and put her team ahead 1-0 when a John Carroll defender missed a header, allowing Miskiewicz to field the ball and send a half-volley shot into the left corner of the net.
Mercy, which suffered its only loss of the season two weeks ago to host Good Counsel during the Falcon Invitational Tournament in Wheaton, put eight more shots on goal in the remaining minutes of the first half, but couldn't convert and had to settle for a one-goal advantage at the half.
Mercy's front line continued to apply pressure on the Patriots' goal in the second half. John Carroll junior goalkeeper Katie McAveney (eight saves) managed to turn away two shots before freshman forward Tina Steck scored on a crossing pass from sophomore right wing Jeni Domanowski, giving the Sharpshooters a 2-0 lead with 29:48 left in the contest. Steck's goal was her seventh of the season.
"They outplayed us today, no doubt about it," said John Carroll coach Joe Rehrmann, after watching his team's record slip to 3-1 overall, 2-1 in the league. "We weren't into any kind of game flow and I don't know whether it's because we haven't played in a week or what, but we can play better than that."
Things won't get any easier for the Patriots as they visit top-ranked McDonogh tomorrow. However, Rehrmann expects his Harford County contingent to put up more of a fight against the league-leading Eagles (5-0, 3-0).
"I suspect we'll play better against McDonogh, if I read this team right," said Rehrmann. "They usually play up to their capabilities when they're matched heavy."