By Nelson Coffin
The Mercy and Our Lady of Mount Carmel indoor soccer teams welcomed 2019 with open arms at Clarence “Du” Burns Arena on Monday afternoon in Canton.
The Magic and the Cougars topped Garrison Forest and Beth Tfiloh, respectively, in the doubleheader.
Mercy’s margin was 12-2 over the Grizzlies while the Cougars pitched a 13-0 shutout despite 17 saves by Sophie Dubin of the Warriors.
The junior keeper wasn’t the only goalie to play well. Garrison Forest senior netminder Maddie Morris was also on her game, recording 15 saves against the often accurate Magic.
Junior forward Amanda McCleod scored both Grizzlie goals, her 16th and 17th of the season.
“We did a lot better this time than we did the last time we played them,” said McCleod, who plays on the same club team with several of the Mercy athletes.
Mercy coach Nick Gill agreed with McCleod’s assessment of the team that had only one reserve player on the bench to vie against a rival with a deep and talented bench.
“For not having many numbers, they attacked very well,” Gill said. “From the first game to the second one, they’ve gotten a lot better. And they have a couple of dangerous players.”
Ada Clare Tempert led the Magic with four goals and two assists, upping her team-best season totals to 19 goals and 11 assists.
Fellow senior Lydia Morris added three goals while junior Pallina Jordan pitched in with a pair of goals and four feeds.
Sophomore Emma Aviles also scored twice for the defending A Conference champs, who have won all five matches this season while outscoring opponents by a whopping 45-7.
The Grizzlies, on the other hand, have yet to win this season and have been hamstrung by a small roster.
Still, Garrison Forest assistant coach Stephanie Mueller said that the 10 players on the roster are fully “invested in the team.”
Plus, a larger incoming freshman class could refresh the roster next season.
A small roster is not an issue for Beth Tfiloh. A lack of experienced players is what ails the Warriors the most.
“We’ve always had the numbers,” Beth Tfiloh coach Brendan Kennedy said. “I guess that’s a small silver lining, but we’re hanging in there playing with a lot of players who are new to the sport.”
Chris Mazan, who coaches the Cougars, has the opposite situation as his team contends for a return to the B Conference title game.
He has plenty of firepower at his disposal, and it was on display against the Warriors.
Leading 5-0, senior forward Ashley Conway then scored three of the next four goals to ensure that the Cougars would improve to 4-1 this season heading into a showdown with the only team to have beaten them this season when they meet Roland Park Country School next week.
The Reds took the first encounter between the two teams last month, giving them the inside track to the top playoff seed.
To that end, Mazan had a team that is virtually intact from the outdoor team in top form Monday.
Simultaneously, Mazan is building for the future when he loses to scorer Conway and center back Kate Kovalick to graduation in the spring.
He said that having his outdoor players playing inside in the winter will help to develop a stronger team on the pitch next fall.
“We have a lot of youth on this team — vibrant youth,” he said. “And we want to close strong while we’re playing for the top seed.”