Whenever the Mercy soccer team has urgently needed something positive to happen this season, Alexis Prior-Brown usually provides the necessary lift.
In Wednesday's game at Notre Dame Prep, the junior forward made it a two-fold example.
Scoring a tying goal in the final minute of the first half and a go-ahead goal midway through the second half, Prior-Brown proved to be the difference, as the No. 2 Magic earned a 3-2 win over Notre Dame Prep in an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference game.
After Prior-Brown gave the visitors a 2-1 lead, Anna Borkowski tacked on an insurance goal that was needed after the Blazers got within 3-2 on a goal by Kristi Paavola. The Magic were able to possess the ball for the final four minutes to protect the lead and improve to 7-1 on the season. The Blazers, who took a 1-0 lead on a goal from Simona Parravano and had the better of the play in the first half, fell to 3-4.
Needing a spark, the Magic got one when Prior-Brown received an entry pass from midfielder Alexandra Pryor, cleanly turned from just outside the penalty area and blasted a left-footed shot into the left corner to provide momentum going into halftime. Her second goal came after a long run with the ball — a right-foooted strike from 25 yards.
"We were completely out of the game, getting outplayed, and when you have a dynamic player like that — you expect her to make a big play and she made two — that was the difference in the game. Our star player stepped up at the critical times," Mercy coach Doug Pryor said.
Prior-Brown, who played a key role in the Magic's run to the conference championship game last season as a sophomore, enjoys the responsibility.
"We needed to pick it up," she said. "I think we needed a confidence booster because we seemed a little down and tired. When the team isn't playing well, you need someone to step up and help give a boost and I was able to do that today."
There was plenty of positives the home team could take away from losing to the area's No. 2 team. They scored two quality goals, with Jade Petrucci sending in precise crosses to assist on both. More of the same on a consistent basis is what coach Chris Lopez hopes to see as the season progresses.
"I think we need to work on getting the goals when we have the opportunities," he said. "Finishing — we're not quite there yet — but hopefully as the season goes on we can take better advantage of the opportunities we create."