2016 IAAM B CONFERENCE
ST. PAUL’S SCHOOL FOR GIRLS GATORS
Just when it looked like the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland C Conference championship soccer match between Park School and St. Vincent Pallotti were headed to overtime at Anne Arundel Community College on Saturday night, Carrie Davis came through for the Bruins in a big way.
The freshman’s goal with just under two minutes remaining in regulation snapped a 1-1 tie and gave Park its first title since 2003.
The B Conference finale — the middle game of the IAAM triple header — was the polar opposite of the C title match, with No. 18 St. Paul’s School giving a dominant performance in a 3-0 verdict over Severn School.
The Gators squad built a 2-0 advantage in the first half and rolled to the victory to secure the school’s first-ever IAAM soccer crown while Park had to go the extra mile to turn back Pallotti, 2-1, in the nightcap.
St. Paul’s (17-1) jumped ahead of the third-seeded Admirals (14-8-2) in the 10th minute when freshman midfielder Laney Cornelius, who originated the play on a corner kick, converted a pass from senior defender Ashlyn McGovern to put St. Paul’s on top, 1-0.
With just over 12 minutes remaining in the first half, sophomore forward Zari Hayes’ cross found senior midfielder Darby Welsh for a one-timer to double the lead.
Another one of the Gators’ talented freshman group, Alex Pirisino, left-footed a 6-yard shot on a crisp feed from Cornelius for a 3-0 cushion with 27 minutes left in regulation.
Six minutes later, the Admirals offered a threat of their own when junior forward Michelle Money caromed a shot off the upper left corner of the goal. Then Severn junior defender Gabby Ciroalo lofted a long shot that drifted wide a couple of minutes after Money’s attempt.
The next Admiral to test St. Paul’s keeper Megan Matsko was sophomore midfielder Eileen Doherty, although the freshman made the save to preserve the Gators’ 13th shutout of the season and secure the school’s first-ever IAAM soccer crown.
“From the start of our preseason, it was like they were very determined,” St. Paul’s coach Joie Gill said. “We never took out foot off the pedal. We only allowed two goals the whole conference season. I didn’t have to figure out a way to motivate them. It was all within themselves.”
Severn coach Albert Oni said that playing in the championship for the first time was a different experience for the Admirals.
“There were a little bit of butterflies,” he said. “And that’s normal. St. Paul’s is a great team and they’re a fun team to play against.”
IAAM B Conference soccer championship
at Anne Arundel Community College
No. 16 St. Paul’s School 3, Severn School 0
Severn 0 0 – 0
St. Paul’s 2 1 – 3
Goals: SP-Laney Cornelius, Darby Welsh, Alex Pirisino
Assists: SP-Ashlyn McGovern, Zari Hayes, Laney Cornelius
Saves: Sev-Zoe Bennett 5; SP-Megan Matsko 5
2016 IAAM C CONFERENCE
PARK SCHOOL BRUINS
In the C Conference battle, Davis nailed a beautiful straight-on rocket from 20 yards to give the Bruins (14-2) a hard-earned win.
“I just got the ball on my feet and I started going up the field and saw open space,” she said. “I zoned everyone else out and just took a shot and it went in. I just practiced what I do in practice. Practice makes perfect.”
It was a perfect end for the top seeds, who scored first in the third minute on a tap-in by senior midfielder Michelle Pais on a neat pass from freshman midfielder Bella Palumbi.
With just over three minutes remaining in the opening half, the Panthers (14-4) drew even on junior midfielder Caroline Falcone’s penalty kick.
The score remained that way until Davis struck, despite several attempts to break the tie on shots by sophomore midfielder Lexi Mantilla, sophomore striker Karinne Summers and Palumbi.
However, senior goalie Anastasia Barrett (11 saves) was up to the task for Pallotti by making diving saves on hard drives by Mantilla and Palumbi as the Bruins were breaking free against the Panthers’ back line more frequently as the game progressed.
“We started to lose track — we were losing our marks,” Pallotti coach Maceo Rojas said. “We were beginning to run out of gas a little bit as well. The last time we played them, we lost, 4-0. So we played a lot better tonight.”
Park coach Malick Mbengue said that a melding of veterans and newcomers have marked the Bruins’ success in 2016.
“Coming to the championship game and having a freshman score and a senior score is like a culmination of our season,” he said. “It was awesome for Carrie to get a goal there and win it for us.”
IAAM C Conference soccer championship
at Anne Arundel Community College
Park School 2, St. Vincent Pallotti 1
Pallotti 1 0 – 1
Park 1 1 – 2
Goals: SVP-Caroline Falcone; Park-Michelle Pais, Carrie Davis
Assists: Park-Bella Palumbi
Saves: SVP-Anastasia Barrett 11; Simone Nikitina 7