Cavs score, then hold firm

Martin’s goal in first half enough as de­fense fends off Blazers’ push for equal­izer

Baltimore Sun - - VARSITY - By Glenn Gra­ham glenn.gra­ham@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Glen­nGra­hamSun

The Arch­bishop Spald­ing girls soccer team walked off the home field united, tired and sat­is­fied Thurs­day af­ter a strong col­lec­tive ef­fort that pro­duced a 1-0 win over Notre Dame Prep.

Se­nior Katie Martin scored 15 min­utes into the game. The No. 4 Cava­liers got par­tic­u­larly strong play from the mid­field and for­wards in the tone-set­ting first half, then the de­fense helped seal the vic­tory as the No. 3 Blazers un­suc­cess­fully pushed for the ty­ing goal through the sec­ond half.

Arch­bishop Spald­ing (9-2-2) main­tains its hold on first place in the In­ter­scholas­tic Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion of Mary­land A Con­fer­ence with a 6-1-1 league record and19 points. Notre Dame Prep (6-2-2) lost for the first time in league play, fall­ing to 3-1-2 with 11 points.

In the teams’ first meet­ing of the sea­son at Notre Dame Prep on Sept. 22, 80 min­utes of reg­u­la­tion and 20 more in ex­tra time weren’t enough to de­cide a win­ner, as the game ended in a score­less tie.

That re­sult, and the ri­valry’s in­ten­sity, put Martin’s early goal at a pre­mium.

She took ad­van­tage of a rare Blazers give­away in the back, col­lected the ball around the 18-yard mark and scored on a shot to the lower-right cor­ner to give the Cava­liers an edge they wouldn’t re­lin­quish. The home team kept the ball for most of the first half but couldn’t add to its lead.

The Blazers cranked up the pres­sure in the sec­ond half, but the Cava­liers de­fense, led by All-Metro se­nior Emily Roberts, was up to the task. Martin’s of­fense set the tempo of the game.

“I can’t even ex­plain how happy I was when Katie scored that goal,” Roberts said. “My heart was pound­ing for the first 10 min­utes of the game be­cause it’s such a big ri­valry, and when we got that first goal, it just took some pres­sure off of us and re­ally let us set­tle down and play our game.”

With six days to pre­pare, coach Ashly Kennedy wanted her Cava­liers to fo­cus on get­ting to the ball first and be­ing smart with Notre Dame Prep’s Ce­cile McGar­vey, left, and Jenna Snead of Arch­bishop Spald­ing fight for con­trol of a loose ball. The teams’ first meet­ing this sea­son ended in a score­less tie. it against the Blazers. More pre­cise work in the fi­nal third also was em­pha­sized, and han­dled by Martin’s fin­ish.

The Blazers played with more ur­gency in the sec­ond half, win­ning more balls in the mid­dle of the field and be­ing re­warded with sev­eral dan­ger­ous free kicks. The Cava­liers cleared just about ev­ery­thing as goalie Jil­lian Sav­ageau needed to make only two saves.

“It’s al­ways a re­as­sur­ing feel­ing to score in the early mo­ments, es­pe­cially on the home field with hav­ing the ad­van­tage there,” Kennedy said. “I think for us, I’m re­ally proud of the girls for keep­ing a lead. [We had] some scary mo­ments and that’s one thing that Notre Dame Prep does well — ap­ply pres­sure — and we had to make sure to han­dle it in a bet­ter way.”

Notre Dame Prep coach Val Teix­eira ap­plauded his team’s hard work in the sec­ond half, even though it wasn’t enough. All-Metro goalie Ash­ley Ga­bor fin­ished with five saves.

“It’s tough when you con­cede a goal early and have to try to come back against a team that pos­sesses the ball well,” Teix­eira said. “We tried to push for­ward with three and four play­ers in the last 15 min­utes but, at the end of the day, the team that finds the back of the net is the team that wins the game.”

“It’s tough when you con­cede a goal early and have to try to come back against a team that pos­sesses the ball well.” Notre Dame Prep coach Val Teix­eira

LLOYD FOX/BAL­TI­MORE SUN PHOTOS

Arch­bishop Spald­ing play­ers cel­e­brate af­ter Katie Martin’s first-half goal. With the win, the Cava­liers keep hold of first place in the In­ter­scholas­tic Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion of Mary­land A Con­fer­ence. The loss was Notre Dame Prep’s first in league play.

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