Surprising was the fact that John Carroll was able to put up three unanswered goals in the first half yesterday against top-ranked St. Mary's.
Impressive was the way the No. 9 Patriots went about it.
Dominating possession and finishing efficiently in the first 40 minutes, the Patriots used the fast start and then had extra at the finish to come away with a stunningly comfortable 5-1 win over the Saints in an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference girls soccer game in Bel Air.
Ashley Myers, playing in her first game after recovering from an ankle injury, scored in the game's third minute, Jamie Zimmerman added two goals and Lauren Ward contributed one goal and two assists.
"I think today we were mentally prepared. We knew what we wanted to do and did it. We just wanted to put it all together as a team and I think we just wanted the ball more," said Zimmerman, a sophomore midfielder.
Controlling the ball, putting together a string of passes and finding the goal are all common traits the Saints (4-1-1) usually have, but not yesterday.
Myers found the lower right corner with a left-footed shot from 20 yards and then the Patriots (2-3-1) kept the Saints locked in their defensive third with Zimmerman and Ward going on to provide the 3-0 halftime lead.
"We had no intensity. I have no reason for it, they just weren't ready to play," said St. Mary's coach Jerry Tobin. "John Carroll played a very nice game. They outhustled us and we couldn't pass the ball straight. They had us playing back on our heels."
John Carroll senior co-captain Amy Graul said a faster-paced warm-up routine helped.
"We had a lot more movement [during warm-ups], a lot more intensity and we were much more focused," she said. "The first 10 minutes of a game are really important and we came out really intense. Everybody was just throwing their body everywhere because we knew if we could get to the ball first, it would play against their strength."
The second half had some anxious moments for the Patriots with the Saints finally finding their game.
Bibi Anderson worked around a couple of defenders to get in close along the right side and then scored in the 55th minute to cut the lead to 3-1. The Saints' pressure kept coming, with Jennifer Naylor sending a shot just high and Lauren Brown banging one off the crossbar before Graul scored to give the Patriots their three-goal lead back.