Sunday, September 09, 2007

St. John's Seizes Chance Late in Game
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, September 9, 2007; D09

OWINGS MILLS, Md., Sept. 8 -- After McDonogh sophomore Lexi Blight's improbable shot from midfield sneaked over the end line for a goal, St. John's (D.C.) Coach Manny Villafana was nervous for the first time this season.

"I bet that, whether it's one of my girls or a McDonogh girl, if they try to do that a thousand times in practice, it would never happen," Villafana said of the towering shot that gave McDonogh (2-2-2) the lead midway through the second half of yesterday's McDonogh Invitational girls' soccer tournament. "When you are ahead 1-0 for so long and all of the sudden you are behind 2-1, a lot of teams can tank."

But All-Met senior forward Tiffany McCarty, who took five of top-ranked St. John's 11 shots on goal in the Cadets' 3-2, come-from-behind victory, saw the opportunity for her squad to learn something as it trailed for the first time this season.

"We are more comfortable now with each other," McCarty said. "It gives us a lot of confidence."
McCarty settled a corner kick from junior defender Dana Palmiotto and gave junior midfielder Remi Gibba enough time to blast a shot from 10 yards to tie the contest at 2 in the 70th minute. She found junior midfielder Liz Seligman 13 minutes later for the win as she raced up the left side and delivered a left-footed cross.

"There was an opening and [Tiffany] hit the ball and I had space and time, but I didn't think I was going to make the goal," said Seligman, who finished the game-winner on a right-footed dart from five yards.

The win over McDonogh capped a two-day, three-game tournament for St. John's (6-0). The field included four nationally ranked opponents, including the Cadets, ranked No. 1 in the nation by

"Today we had everything to lose," Villafana said. "If we lost, we were going to drop [in the rankings], whether we were in the championship game or not."

McCarty gave St. John's the 1-0 lead in the 38th minute when she settled a loft from junior midfielder Krissia Vasquez and delivered a right-footed boot from six yards. It was her fourth goal of the tournament, seventh of the season and 159th of her career.

A left-footed shot from 15 yards by McDonogh junior forward Colby Rhea evened the score in the 51st minute before the Eagles took the 2-1 lead on Blight's towering shot.

McDonogh Invitational Three for Me: St. John's has scored three goals in eight of nine games, including three preseason scrimmages. Eight is Enough: In yesterday's semifinals, O'Connell (4-2) dropped in the eighth round of penalty kicks to McDonogh after a 2-2 game.

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