St. Mary's shows positive signs in victory

Bob Hough
Contact Reporterbhough@capgaznews.com

As a reward for winning three Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference titles in four years, the St. Mary’s girls soccer team was promoted to the A Conference.

On Wednesday, the Saints played their first home game of the year against a familiar opponent in Maryvale Prep of the B Conference, so they wanted to bounce back from a pair of losses over the weekend and generate some momentum before the schedule gets tougher.

Lindsey Grady scored in the 21st minute and Shelby Sullivan stopped all nine shots she faced in the Saints’ 1-0 victory over the Lions on Wednesday.

St. Mary’s (1-2) will face Elizabeth Seton on Friday before playing the bulk of their remaining games against A Conference competition.

“This is our first win in our first game at home and our first goal, so all good things and all positive things,” St. Mary’s coach Sarah Molina said. “It’s really hot, so I told them at halftime mentally they need to stay strong and stay sharp and that’s what they did. They took direction really well.”

Though the Saints lost both games they played at the AACC Tournament to open the season, the games were much more competitive than last year. On a team that lost 12 seniors from a championship team, Molina is looking for as many positive signs as possible before conference play.

“We’re off to a good start and I’m really proud of them,” she said. “I’m really excited to see what we can do this year in the A.”

Maryvale had some opportunities early in the game, but the Saints did enough to keep the game scoreless. The Lions had a good opportunity in the second minute, but Hailee Murphy made a good recovery.

Grady had a good chance for the Saints in the 17th minute, but her shot went just wide.

With the extreme heat in the area on Wednesday, the teams played 20 minutes and took a five-minute water break. Following the first break, Grady did just enough to get free and lofted a shot from about 30 yards that found the net and gave the Saints the lead.

“I knew I had the space and I saw the open shot,” said Grady, who generated several more scoring chances throughout the game. “I cut it back and I just took and it worked out.”

Maryvale (0-2) was able to create scoring chances the rest of the game, but Sullivan seemed to be in perfect position each time.

The Lions nearly answered less than a minute after Grady’s goal, but Sullivan made a stop. She came out to challenge Gianna Ferrarese late in the first half and forced a shot to go wide. The Lions had a solid chance on a header off a free kick midway through the second half, but Sullivan was there.

Casey Byrne made a pair of solid defensive plays in the final 11 minutes as the Lions were pressing for the equalizer.

Sullivan, a senior who’s been a part of two of the recent B Conference titles, shut out Maryvale and Severn in the Saints’ final two victories of last year’s championship season.

“Our defense did an amazing job today. I might have been in the right position, but they made my job easy,” Sullivan said. “It will be a challenge (playing in the A), but I think this team is ready for it. We’re going to work a lot on defense and we’re going to work on counter attacks, so we’ll see where the season goes.”

Maryvale (0-2) 0 0 — 0

St. Mary’s (1-2) 1 0 — 1

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