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No. 1 TJ blanks No. Carroll

September 26, 2000

No. 1 TJ blanks No. Carroll



By ADELINE STAEBLER / Staff Correspondent


FREDERICK, Md. - The tough schedule that the Thomas Johnson's girls soccer team has played thus far is starting to pay off.

The No.1 Patriots, who faced three nationally ranked teams in their first seven games, shut out North Carroll 5-0 Tuesday night in the Central Maryland Conference.

According to Thomas Johnson coach Chuck Nichols, this is the first time in at least three years that the match-up between the two schools hasn't been won by one goal.

"I was expecting a double overtime (tonight), this was completely unexpected," Nichols said. "It's almost surreal. In 1997 we met them in the regional semifinals and it was a close match, in 1998 they beat us 3-2 in the regional finals. Last year we played them twice and we went overtime in the regular season game and penalty kicks in the regional championship, so it's been a history of very close games.

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"This was a critical match for us because at this point we're like the Redskins until they played the Giants," Nichols said. "I mean, who are we? There's no identity as to whose team it is."

The Patriots faced Good Counsel last week, which is the No. 1 ranked team in the country. TJ lost to them, 1-0. They have also played highly ranked teams like St. Mary's and McDonough.

"If you took the top five players off of St. Mary's, Good Counsel and McDonough, you could compete in the ACC," Nichols said.

TJ (4-2-1) scored its first three goals within 13 minutes. Erin Gaeng scored with an assist from Mollie Merkel a little over five minutes into the game. Liz Specht scored off a throw-in by Kendall Bolte 10 minutes into the game and then Lyndal Hegamyer headed the ball into the net after receiving a corner kick by Specht.

"We got a tremendous start with those three goals in the first 15 minutes," Nichols said. "We don't give up many (scoring) opportunities and I think our opponents understand that you're not going to score. At that point you would have to score four goals on us and you'd have to go back five or six years to the last time we gave up four goals, so I think we kind of took the stuffing out of them."

The Patriots scored their last two goals in the second half. Merkel scored off of a corner kick and Emily Sykes had an unassisted goal.

Nichols says that none of his players scoring multiple goals is a recurring trend this season.

"The high scorers on our team have scored only two or three goals... I don't know who you focus on at this point," Nichols said. "We're also doing a great job in restarts, I believe that we now have 16 goals on the year and eight of those 16 goals are off of corner kicks, throw-ins, free kicks."

"We had a long meeting and we were discussing that they were a strong team and they really wanted to beat us," Hegamyer said. "Some people knew a couple of the girls on the team and they really were getting geared up for this game. We were really up for it I think."

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