Cavs score, then hold firm
Martin’s goal in first half enough as defense fends off Blazers’ push for equalizer
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
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.