When does a tie feel almost as good as a win?
For fourth-ranked Catholic, the answer became apparent after yesterday's Catholic League showdown with No. 11 John Carroll: It's when your team trails 2-0 well into the second half, can't seem to generate any offense and seems in danger of losing its first game of the season, then rallies for three unanswered goals.
The score may have been 3-3, but Cubs co-coach Jason Dieter considered the outcome somewhat of a victory.
"I think the kids demonstrated a lot of heart," said Dieter. "They never quit and they just kept plugging away. They had quite a few chances the whole game, and finally the ball started going into the goal. It's a credit to them."
For much of the way, however, the game seemed to belong to the Patriots (3-2-1 overall, 2-2-1 in the league).
After Catholic (4-0-1, 4-0-1) opened by dominating for the first seven minutes, John Carroll began to wrest away control. Two goals by freshman Jenny Biscoe gave the Patriots a 2-0 lead with nearly 25 minutes left to play in the first half, and it looked as if the Patriots -- 4-1 winners over the Cubs in a preseason tournament -- might steamroll to an easy victory.
In the second half, however, the Cubs began to show why many consider them the favorites in the Catholic League, scoring three goals -- the first two by Nicole Brooks and the third by La Angelini -- in a span of 15: 30 to take a 3-2 lead with nine minutes left.
"We made a couple mistakes, and they made us pay," said John Carroll coach John Hughes. "They have some good offensive players, and they proved that they could come back. But at the same time, I felt that we had opportunities and we just didn't convert."
With 4: 51 to play, however, John Carroll's Katie Tiburzi evened things up off a direct kick, and the game ended in a deadlock.
Making the tie seem even bigger for Catholic was an acrobatic save made by Cubs goalie Allison Merkle down the stretch. Merkle, who replaced ailing starter Corrine Butcher midway through the first half, dove hard to her right to knock away a rocket shot off the foot of John Carroll's Meredith Gunning.
For Hughes, the save was hard to watch, but what followed may have been even harder.
"She made a great save, but if we would have just followed on that shot, somebody could've tapped it in while she was on the ground," said Hughes.
Pub Date: 9/26/96