The third time was the championship charm for John Carroll Sunday.

After losing twice to Mercy during the regular season, the Patriots got the one that matter in a 1-0 victory in the IAAM B Conference championship game at Stevenson University.

John Carroll (11-4-1 overall) combined a second quarter score and a strong defensive effort to claim its second B crown in three seasons, and sixth overall.

One of the Patriots young stars made the play of the game with 5 minutes, 30 seconds left in the second quarter. Sophomore midfielder Sammie Bender stepped in front of a Mercy clearing attempt and created a scoring opportunity for the Patriots.

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After a scramble for the bouncing ball, Bender was able to get off an open look that beat Mercy goalkeeper Sydney Miles to give the Patriots the advantage.

“It was all a team effort,” Bender said of her decisive goal. “We all really hard to get [an open look]. It could have been anyone that scored it. I just feel really appreciative that we got it.”

The Patriots’ defense did the rest, blocking several shots and allowing very few scoring opportunities.

John Carroll coach Tess Gauthier credited her assistant Sammi Edwards for a gameplan that focused on controlling the ball and being smart with it in the defensive zone.

“All season we have worked really hard on playing a smart defense,” Edwards said. “They really keyed down on knowing where to place that ball [when passing]. Getting low, we worked hard on it and the girls really performed well today.”

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With several sophomores and a freshman in goal in Sunday’s starting lineup, John Carroll could be in position for a run similar to its three-peat run of 2014 to 2016.

Edwards was a part of that championship stretch as a player.

“I think it is awesome how young our girls are and how they have stepped up to the plate for us to be on varsity and perform at the level we need them to,” Edwards said. “Everybody just plays together well as a team, no matter what age they are, and that is all that matters.”

It was a disappointing conclusion to an otherwise great two weekend stretch for Mercy. Last weekend, the Magic won the IAAM B volleyball championship at Stevenson.

Saturday evening, the soccer team won its first A title and the program’s first overall championship since 1991.

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Sammie Bender was a difference maker John Carroll field hockey Sunday afternoon. The sophomore's second quarter goal accounted for the game's scoring as the Patriots defeated Mercy for the IAAM B Conference championship. (Eric Bem/Eric Bem)

Mercy (10-4-1) was the No. 1 seed in the B field hockey playoffs after going unbeaten (7-0-1) in the regular season, including a 1-0 and 3-2 decision over John Carroll.

“John Carroll’s defense was really, really good today,” Mercy coach Sabrina Rhodes said. “We prepared for that, but we were just a little slow getting our outlets out – our 16-yard hits. We got the ball into the circle quite a bit but we just couldn’t convert.”

The Magic will lose a lot of production from three graduating seniors, including Towson University commit Sophia Frasca.

Rhodes is confident that the team’s young core, including Frasca’s sister Ella, will be up to the challenge

of getting the Magic back to the championship stage.

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“I’m really excited for next season,” Rhodes said. “We have a lot to look forward to, we have a lot of talent [here] and a lot of talent coming in. We are ready to get back here and win.”


at Stevenson University


Mercy 0 0 0 0 - 0

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John Carroll 0 1 0 0 - 1

Goals: John Carroll - Sammie Bender

Saves: John Carroll - Josephine Bianco 1; Mercy - Sydney Miles 5