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Staff writer

St. Mary’s Ryken’s Rebecca Jerome is getting used to the high school level quickly.

“If you saw Rebecca, you wouldn’t even know that she is a freshman,” Ryken head girls soccer coach Tim Major said. “She shows so much composure and she is very mature. She has a lot of speed and will be a very good player in our program.”

In Wednesday’s contest versus The Calverton School, Jerome showed off her uncanny ability, collecting two-first half goals to catapult visiting Ryken of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference to the eventual 2-0 victory over five-time Maryland Independent Schools Athletic League champion Calverton at Veterans Field in Huntingtown.

“This was a good win for us, we definitely played better today,” said Jerome, who now leads the team with eight goals. “We’ve been working hard and the practice definitely has paid off.”

In all of its wins in 2012, Ryken (6-2 overall) has yielded just one goal due to its stiff defense.

“It was good to keep the momentum and play an out-of-conference game,” Major said. “Calverton always is a good school and have a lot of talented girls that play hard and compete. Playing them prepares us for our league games.”

Twenty minutes into the game on a lead pass from sophomore forward Meghan Conner, Jerome ran ahead of the Calverton defense and nailed a shot from 15 yards out that went right past sophomore goalie Elise Bouchard (10 saves).

As the game approached halftime, Jerome struck again, tapping the ball in the back of the net from five yards away.

“I just wanted to take advantage of my opportunities,” Jerome said. “My teammates put me into the right places and I was able to find the net

Major added, “Rebecca started playing in the back for us early on during the season, but I’m moved her up top. Our defense played really well and had really recovered well in transition.”

Throughout the game, including the second half, the Cougars had some scoring opportunities but could not convert.

“We had about six quality chances in the second half; the ball just didn’t find the net,” Calverton head coach Carlton Leslie said. “We had a miscommunication in our midfield on the first goal and we had some problems marking defensively we have to work on that. But this was a very good competition for the girls to play.”

After the game concluded, Leslie gave Major a soccer ball in dedication to his 7-year old-daughter Madison, who has been battling cancer for four years and is currently undergoing treatments at the National Institute of Health.

On the ball there were signatures from the Calverton staff, players, and it labeled their best wishes of support and prayers for Madison.

“Calverton showed a lot of class and I’m thankful for all the support,” Major said. “My daughter is battling and we are praying for her.”

Leslie added, “Tim’s daughter Madison is fighting harder than anybody that played on that field. I wanted to do some special. Last season, it was a very emotional game and I know this meant a lot to me and the girls. Our thoughts and prayers definitely go out to Madison and the family.”

“When we found out about Madison that definitely touched our lives,” Cougars junior defender Corinthia Briscoe said, “and the ball was a sign that we have her in our prayers.”

It was the first loss for Calverton (8-1) this season and it was the first time this season that it was held scoreless. The Cougars are averaging 7 1/2 goals a game thus far this season.

“We knew this was going to be a good game because we beat Rockbridge 4-3 [in overtime] and Ryken beat them 6-0,” Calverton junior midfielder Angie Horan said. “At the end, I thought we just got tired.”

“We played hard for the full 80 minutes,” Briscoe said. “It’s a loss, but we learned a lot. We had some great shots, we just didn’t finish. Ryken just was the better team.”

Ryken freshman Samantha Long, in only her second game on varsity, finished with six saves in the shutout.

Calverton is off until Wednesday when it takes on visiting King’s Christian at 4:30 p.m. Ryken will travel to St. Andrew’s Episcopal School of Montgomery County at 4 p.m. today.

Calverton 4, SMCA 2

Steven Goff scored three goals to help the host Cougars (1-0-1, 1-0-1 MISAL) double Southern Maryland Christian Academy on Wednesday. The game was originally scheduled to be played on Tuesday, but was postponed due to weather.

Calverton led 2-1 at halftime, but Goff scored twice early in the second half to blow the game open. David Tarry scored a goal and Charlie Taylor added two assists. Cole Kern had one assist.

Staff writer Michael Reid contributed to this report.