Of the four straight losses St. Mary's has suffered this season, yesterday's 10-9 nail-biter at No. 3 St. Paul's may be the toughest for coach Jim Moorhead to swallow.
His Saints, last year's 17-0 Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A champs, led 3-0 early but threw away the ball five times in the first period and couldn't convert their only two extra-man opportunities.
No. 5-ranked St. Mary's (2-4) led 5-3 at the half only to see St. Paul's, led by Conor Gill (two goals, five assists) and Conor Ford (two, two), tie the game at 6 entering the final period.
Then, trailing 9-8 with 4: 48 left to play, a miscue by the Saints resulted in a Crusaders' 10-8 lead as Ryan Metzbower, on a pass-back to goalie Eric Schmidt (14 saves), misplayed the ball into the goal.
"The difference between today and our last game against Loyola [a 10-5 loss] is that we came out fired up for the third quarter," said Crusaders' goalie Alec Schweizer.
"We were behind, but our defense never let down," Schweizer added. "Scott Marimow, John DiCamillo, Kimball Payne, Bob Werhane, Matt Latchford -- they're the ones who stepped up today. I just played a role."
But it was a mighty big one.
Schweizer blocked five of the Saints' first seven shots and in the third quarter stopped the Annapolis team's first four shots, all from point-blank range.
But on the Saints' fifth try, with 6: 52 left in the period, Josh White (three goals, two assists) came from behind and to Schweizer's left to score on a supreme effort. White shook off defender Alex Poole, who fell, and rifled the ball eight yards into the upper corner to his right.
But the Crusaders countered with a 4-0 run.
"Our offense really stepped up today, moving the ball around well -- especially David Taylor, who hasn't been playing a lot," Gill said. "Metzbower made a mistake that he rarely makes, and it was a big break for us. But today, we played St. Paul's-offense like it's supposed to be played."
To start the final period, the Crusaders (7-2) enjoyed a one-minute, two-man advantage because of penalties against Moorhead, who disputed a call, and defender Brian Kingsbury. But Saints keeper Schmidt stopped point-blank shots by Gill and Tim Halford (two goals).
With 10: 13 to play and the teams back at equal strength, Gill fed Ford to give the Crusaders their first lead of the game, 7-6.
The Saints' Metzbower (one goal, one assist) tried to overcome his mistake by assisting Adam Shiley (two goals) with 1: 57 left.
And after regaining possession with 23 seconds left, Metzbower tried again -- starting a 65-yard run with 16 seconds left. But his shot bounced over the goal with five seconds left, and a final effort, by Jim Hardesty (one goal, one assist) from 18 yards with one second remaining, went in -- after time had elapsed.
"The kids played hard, but I don't think we're getting the breaks we deserve to be getting," said St. Mary's Moorhead. "We made mistakes, sure. I'm frustrated for the kids, but I think we deserved better than we got today."
Pub Date: 4/12/97