No team could knock the Spalding girls' soccer team from first place in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference during the season, not even defending champion John Carroll, which fell to the Cavaliers, 2-0, in the regular season.

But with the conference tournament comes a new season, and John Carroll showed its grit by winning in a shootout to claim the conference title yesterday at Calvert Hall in Baltimore.

Spalding (17-3) brought a 16-game winning streak and 14 shutouts into the match. When it was over, the team sat stunned at midfield as its final chance sailed over the goal and Carroll ran to greet goalkeeper Sarah Mosier, who had nine saves in the match and two more in the shootout.

"I took a deep breath," before the shootout, Mosier said as she walked off the field, eyes no longer red from the tears of joy that fell earlier. "I was so nervous, but I knew we could do it."

Spalding got on the board first when forward Christine Nairn scored on a penalty kick with 32 minutes 14 seconds remaining in the game.

John Carroll (17-5-1) responded with its own penalty shot from junior Melissa Gomes, with 6:32 to play in regulation. The teams played two scoreless overtime periods before John Carroll won the shootout, 3-2.

Spalding sophomore goalkeeper Karen Blocker managed a smile after the game while talking of her team's effort and the hopes for next year. "We have a very young team, we're going to have a very good season next year," Blocker said. "We're going to [continue] training in the offseason and come back even stronger." . . .

Severn (17-2, 11-0) capped its season with a 4-2 victory over Maryvale in the IAAM B Conference championship yesterday. The Admirals pulled to a 3-0 lead in the first half and held through second-half pressure applied by Maryvale. Severn sophomore Alex Priddy scored a hat trick to finish with 29 goals for the season. Priddy also assisted on junior Emmie Eckert's 21st goal of the season.