After failing to score in their last meeting with Catholic, the third-ranked McDonogh Eagles entered yesterday's rematch with a slightly different plan of attack.
Facing a tough defense that consistently double- and triple-teamed All-Metro striker Laurie Schwoy, "Other people had score if we were going to win," said midfielder Susie Pitt.
Kendra Powell and Laura Schroeder did just that, each scoring second-half goals, with Schwoy adding two more off of set plays, to lead the host Eagles to a 4-1 Catholic League victory over No. 12 Catholic.
The victory gives McDonogh (13-2-2 overall, 7-1-2 in the league) a 1 1/2 -game lead with two to play in its pursuit of a fourth straight regular-season league title.
After playing the Cubs to a scoreless tie earlier this season, the Eagles' offense finally broke through.
For coach Maurice Boylan Jr., it was a matter of intensity.
"We had a team meeting during the week where we decided we needed to refocus a bit," said Boylan.
"We've lost a game to Mercy and we have two ties, but we want the top seed [in the tournament]. I think we came out better prepared mentally, and I think that was the difference."
Catholic (5-2-3 overall and in the league) struck first, scoring on its first shot of the game when Renee Basil knocked in Natalie Loftus' direct kick with 13:28 left in the half.
But the lead wouldn't hold up.
Schwoy broke free for back-to-back goals in the final 10 minutes of the half, scoring first on a header after Pitt's corner kick and making it 2-1 on a direct kick from 30 yards out.
Powell extended the lead early in the second half by dribbling in and beating goalie Allison Merkle to her right.
Schroeder finished off the scoring with a 30-yard rocket midway through the half.
Others also came close, including freshman Marissa Schucat, who knocked a long liner off the crossbar on one of McDonogh's 23 shots.
"We came here and worked hard, but it just didn't happen for us," said Catholic coach Jerry Dieter.
"We came in here with the exact same strategy and the exact same game plan as last time, but the ball went their way a lot more and they finished it off."