The Saints accomplished just that when they beat their rivals, the Severn Admirals, 3-0 to claim the IAAM B Conference crown Saturday at Anne Arundel Community College.
Goals by Lindsey Grady, Amanda Roy and Chloe Byrne made the difference for St. Mary's (12-6-1) in a game that was not at all a mismatch, even without Severn's injured forward Eileen Doherty on the field. The Saints and Admirals (13-8-2) entered the postseason as the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds, respectively, and in their lone regular season meeting, it took double overtime for St. Mary's to pull out a 2-1 win.Good defense from both sides dominated the first half, though the Saints had longer possession and more chances. In the final minutes of the half, Severn senior star Michelle Money pushed Lindsay Hegewisch, leading to a St. Mary's free kick within decent range of the goal. Chloe Byrne's free kick hit the top-right corner of the crossbar, and off the rebound, Lindsey Grady broke through the resulting scrum to score.
Not quite eight minutes into the second half, St. Mary's senior forward Sarah DeWitt managed to break away from two defenders and got a clear shot at the goal. Severn's Inde Lauer made an admirable save, but freshman Amanda Roy kicked in the rebound for just her second goal of the year.
The Admirals had a few chances after that, including a moment in which Money dribbled in between four St. Mary's defenders close to the goal. But she was knocked down while in the box before she got a shot off, and Severn fans — upset with the calls all night — were bewildered that a penalty kick wasn't awarded. Not long after that, Reegan Morris received a pass and had a clearing, but was called offside.
Those were Severn's only main chances in the second half, and the Saints did more than just protect their 2-0 lead. Byrne put the game out of reach with 14:31 to play when she took a free kick from the left side of the goal, practically at the angle of a corner kick. The ball took one hop and ricocheted off the inside of the far post, into the net.
Severn coach Albert Oni regretted that Doherty couldn't play in the title game due to a knee injury she suffered in the semifinal Thursday. Severn beat top-seeded St. Paul’s in penalty kicks in that game, one year after losing the B Conference championship game to the Gators.
“It’s sad to get this far and not come out on top,” Oni said. “Right now we’re just a little upset for that, but I’m proud of the team for their effort, and there’s not much more I can ask for.”
In spite of the loss, Money and fellow seniors Lauer and Taylor Critcher played valiantly in their final high school games. Lauer stopped 11 shots of varying degrees of danger, and it was not fully her fault that three balls got by her.
Meanwhile, St. Mary's speedy back line meant goalkeeper Shelby Sullivan didn't have much work to do to fend off the Severn attack, but she did make six saves.
As the Saints celebrated, Molina recalled how her girls dealt with their poor start to the season.
“A lot of the girls, they focused a lot on record. They were like, ‘We haven’t won,’” Molina said. “It was hard for me as a coach also to be like, ‘We’re 0-4-1, but I need to find a way to pump them up.’ I reminded them it was just the beginning, and we have so much time until the championship.”
Something clicked, because the Saints won nine of their final 10 games once the calendar turned to October, including the title game. They didn’t allow a goal in the playoffs, shutting out Mount de Sales 5-0 in the quarterfinals and Maryvale Prep 2-0 in the semis before blanking Severn.
As a result, the championship hardware is now theirs.
St. Mary’s 3, Severn 0
Goals: SM — Grady, Roy, Byrne.
Saves: SE — Lauer 11; SM — Sullivan 6.
Half: SM, 1-0.