Maryvale own goal less than five minutes into the game was all the St. Mary’s Saints needed to stamp their ticket to the IAAM B Conference championship game at Anne Arundel Community College on Saturday.
The third-seeded Saints (11-5-1) will face fourth-seeded Severn (12-8-1), which upset top-seeded and undefeated St. Paul’s on penalty kicks after two overtime periods.
Midfielder Katie Hoffman scored for the Saints, who shut out the Lions, 2-0, on Thursday behind nine saves by goalkeeper Shelby Sullivan.
“I think every girl at some point had a huge play,” St. Mary’s coach Sarah Molina said. “I couldn’t pick out just one. There were a couple good saves by Shelby coming out, there was a time that Katie came out and made a huge tackle, Rachel (Seddon) came in with a great play, Chloe (Byrne) had a great tackle, Grace (Moore) saved goals — each player had a moment.’’
The match was their first meeting since a late-September matchup in which the Saints scored a late goal to squeak by with a 3-2 victory.
“I feel like we came out really strong and it was one of our best games because the one before was close,” Hoffman said. “We scored with like five minutes left, so I think we’re all really excited about the fact that (today) we put it away early in the first 15 (minutes).”
There was a brief scare midway through the second half after a Maryvale player appeared to come down hard on Hoffman’s foot, sending the senior captain to the ground in visible pain.
“She got stepped on pretty hard,” Molina said. “She’s a very physical player … It’s a battle. If she pushes you, then you want to push back and I think it was just a clean foul, she just stepped on her foot pretty hard. We took her off to check on her, but she was fine.”
Added Hoffman, “I feel a lot better. I think I’m going to go take an ice bath now. I’ll be good (to play Saturday).”
St. Mary’s could have scored two more goals in the second half, but a corner kick goal was negated by an offsides penalty, and a contested possession ruling wiped out another corner kick.
Maryvale’s goalkeeper caught but bobbled the St. Mary’s shot, and the ball was subsequently put in the net by a St. Mary’s player. But the official determined the goalie had possession, rendering the play dead.
“I lost it,” Molina said of her reaction. “The goalkeeper bobbled it in her hand and my player ran through and put it in the goal. If you have possession of the ball and somebody runs into you, you have the ball and you move yourself. She was bobbling it, (my player) ran right through, the goalkeeper didn’t even move, it went right into the goal. I think that was a missed call for us.”
At the time, Maryvale had swung the momentum its way, and Sullivan was making the bulk of her nine saves, but the Saints were able to hold on.
St. Mary’s squeaked by Severn 2-1 in overtime on Oct. 10, and Molina says this IAAM B Conference championship game will feature teams that know each other very well.
“Severn is a huge rival for this group,” Molina said. “We know each other really well, we know each others’ players really well, so I think that’ll be a really pretty soccer game. I don’t know if it’ll be a close battle, but I think we have the upper edge with having eight seniors who are very experienced on the field.”
Kickoff from Anne Arundel Community College is set for 5 p.m. on Saturday.
St. Mary’s 2, Maryvale 0
Goals: SM – Own goal, Hoffman.
Assists: SM – DeWitt.
Saves: SM – Sullivan 9.
Half: St. Mary’s, 2-0.
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