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Gaels race to win

October 24, 1998|By DAN SPEARS

The saying goes, "Slow and steady wins the race."

For St. Maria Goretti's girls soccer team, the quick strikes do the job just fine.

Erin Ryan got a hat trick, including two goals on breakaways off long passes, and No. 6 Goretti held off a patient and steady attack from No. 7 Smithsburg for a wild 3-2 victory Friday to kick off homecoming weekend.

Smithsburg (9-5) outshot the Gaels 23-15 and controlled most of the field with its short passing game. But when the Gaels got to the ball, they sent it downfield to Ryan in a hurry.

"In their outside trap, they kept pulling up to midfield," Goretti head coach Mike Bowers said. "That enabled us to get a couple of breakaways."

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"We just rotated ourselves out in the hype of the game," Smithsburg coach Richard Daughtridge said. "Things would build until we would make a mistake, and they would take advantage."

Ryan and the Gaels (11-5-2) took advantage at the right times as well. Twice, a collision in the goal area forced Smithsburg keeper Lauren Church out of the game, and Ryan put a ball past backup Megan Ball each time.

"To go one-on-one with her (Ryan) is tough for a veteran, and especially tough for a rookie," Daughtridge said of Ball, who was playing in her first varsity match. "But she was good. She's got a lot of guts."

The rest of her Leopards teammates did as well, but Goretti goalkeeper Janet McCullough was up to the task, only dropping two balls on her way to a 14-save performance.

"She's calling for the ball more now, knowing when to come off her line," Bowers said. "She's always in the right spot."

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