When it comes to playing Mercy in girls soccer, it appears Catholic striker Nicole Brooks has no mercy.
The sophomore scored the lone goal in a regular-season shutout of the Magic, and scored twice in yesterday's 3-1 Catholic League semifinal victory over third-seeded Mercy (12-6-1) at Patterson Park.
No. 2 seeded Catholic (10-4-3) will play John Carroll, a 2-0 winner over McDonogh, for the title today at 5:15 at Patterson Park.
In each instance, Brooks first-timed her shot.
Standing six yards from the far post just 10 minutes into the game, Brooks (seven goals, five assists) converted a perfect cross from Natalie Loftus past frozen keeper Jennifer Bailey (nine saves).
It was 2-0 just 10 minutes before halftime after Angie Byrd's through ball found Brooks one-on-one with an oncoming Bailey.
"Both times, the ball was placed right on my foot, and I saw the goalie coming out and one side [of the goal] wide open," said Brooks, who disperses credit to teammates as swiftly as she finishes goals. "I expect my teammates to make those kinds of passes every game. I can count on it."
Mercy was the only area team to beat defending champ McDonogh during the regular season, when it was minus two-time All-Metro striker Laurie Schwoy. And the Magic out-shot the Cubs, 10-4, in the second half (14-13 for the game).
But that's when the Cubs defense of sweeper Maria Adams, Gina Schaffer, Caron Mierzak and Jamie Loftus showed how it limited opponents to one goal in its first seven games.
With a few minutes left, freshman keeper Allison Merkle (11 saves) booted the ball away from Mercy's onrushing Lacey Morely five yards from the goal. And Adams, with Merkle out of position, cleared away a goal-bound shot.
"We talk a lot and cover for each other all the time," said Adams, a sophomore. "That's one thing that always helps us is our communication."
That and efforts such as that of junior midfielder La Angellini, who marked Schwoy pointless for only the second time Schwoy's career during a regular-season, 0-0 tie. Last night, however, it was Schaffer's turn to shadow the Magic's top-scorer, Katie Korrow.
* Seton Keough 2, Mount de Sales 0: Karen Murphy scored twice as Seton Keough (10-3-3) advanced to the Catholic League B Division Tournament final today at 3 p.m. against Notre Dame Prep at Patterson Park.
* Notre Dame Prep 2, Severn 0: Courtney Walker scored twice to lead visting Notre Dame Prep (12-0-1) past Severn in a Catholic League B Division Tournament semifinal.