If No. 3-ranked John Carroll wanted a solid test in its girls soccer opener yesterday in the McDonogh Tournament, on paper it appeared as though the Patriots couldn't have gotten a much better draw than defending Class 2A state champion Centennial.
On the field, however, the story was quite different.
The Patriots of Harford County dominated from start to finish, getting two goals and an assist from first-team All-Metro midfielder Jen Biscoe and outshooting the rebuilding No. 13 Eagles, 20-3, in a 3-0 win.
As John Carroll prepares to do battle with powers like McDonogh and Notre Dame Prep this season in the newly formed Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland, coach Gary Lynch said one of his major questions has been answered.
"We were concerned about scoring, but it looks like we'll be able to do that," said Lynch. "Biscoe's the one who scored, but other people took a lot of shots on goal. So it looks like our offense will come together."
The Patriots advance in the winners' bracket to today's 9: 30 a.m. semifinal against Ridgeway (Tenn.), which defeated Archbishop Spalding, 4-3. Ridgeway was nationally ranked last year. The final is set for 2: 30.
This one was never in doubt.
John Carroll started quickly, winning the majority of loose balls, and, after several near-misses, taking a 1-0 lead in the 32nd minute when Biscoe's cross from the corner, after being tipped by goalie Erica Niemann, found the foot of sophomore Katie Weelehan, who knocked it into an empty net.
"We came out and challenged every 50-50 ball, and won most of them," said Biscoe.
Biscoe added a pair of second-half goals, including one 12 minutes into the half in which she followed a hard shot off the crossbar by senior Megan Sparks.
Centennial's best shot came with about 10 minutes left, when midfielder Alison Woods fired a long liner that sailed inches over the goal.
The Eagles (0-1) lost four key seniors to graduation last spring.
"We're regrouping," said Centennial coach Mike Senisi. "We know that if we want to compete like last year, we'll have to play like John Carroll did today. I see the potential, and that's the most important thing."
Senisi said that his team expected a bit more of itself after last week's strong showing against Old Mill in a scrimmage. This time, however, the result was quite different.
"The girls know what happened today, and now they know where we stand," he said.
For John Carroll, however, the victory was sweet nonetheless. Players said that beating a defending state champion, especially in the season opener, is a huge confidence builder.
"It's a big boost," said Biscoe. "We've got a talented team, and we feel we can compete with the best."
Pub Date: 9/04/99