“We are going to win,” said Atholton coach Martie Dyer the day before her team played Marriotts Ridge.
It didn’t make any difference that, with scant notice, the Raiders would be missing a high scoring forward who was making a weekend college visit.
Atholton had one day of practice to make adjustments in its line up and corners. So what? No big deal.
“Despite losing two games by one goal, I think I have the best team in the county. I just do,” Dyer said after her team defeated Marriotts Ridge, 3-2, Friday afternoon at Blandair Park.
It was the second county loss for Marriotts Ridge and drops the Mustangs from a tie for first in the county standings into a tie for second.
Rachel Day put Atholton on the scoreboard first.
“I think that set the tone for the whole entire game,” she said. “We needed that to show us that we could stay in the game.”
As part of the adjustments Atholton had to make, Day, a cherry picker, and freshman Faryn Katz, a center forward, switched positions. The pace of the game soon forced them to switch back but Atholton kept the offensive pressure on.
The Raiders started three freshmen — Katz, Ashley Martin and Rachel Foster — and a sophomore — Meaghan Quinn, who began the season at midfield/defense but has been shifted to forward. She assisted two of Atholton’s goals.
The Raiders had a 1-0 halftime lead and extended their advantage to 2-0 when Gina D’Astro scored on a corner play.
“There are two lines and I don’t think the ball went out of the circle. The second she touched it, I screamed that it didn’t come out,” said Marriotts Ridge keeper Sophia Hamilton. Her plea fell on deaf ears.
On corners, the ball must come out of the circle and then back into it before a shot is taken.
The lines on the Blandair field were confusing, said Marriotts Ridge coach Stacie Gado. “We’re not used to playing on the turf where Atholton is here every day for practice,” she added.
With 17 minutes remaining in the game, Jenna Kerr scored for Marriotts Ridge on a corner play. The Mustangs’ last goal, by Lexi Souder, with 26 seconds left was also during a corner.
“We can’t wait. We can’t wait for them to score. We can’t be content with just playing,” said Marriotts Ridge coach Stacie Gado.
“Coming off a score (by the other team) is hard,” said Marriotts Ridge’s Jasmine Williams. “But once we scored, we had our hopes up."
The Mustangs owned the momentum near the end of the game, and nearly took the ball away from Atholton with 20 seconds to go. The Raiders’ Jaimie Cardea, who scored her team’s third goal, squelched any hopes of Marriotts Ridge stealing the ball possibly tying the game by blasting the ball up the field.
“I knew if I hit the ball up as far as I could it would be a struggle for them to get the ball and get it back down” to their offensive end,” Cardea said. “I think the (hit) was a huge factor in why we won. It gave us time to settle and get that corner” at the very end.
Atholton drew a penalty corner just as the clock expired. The Raiders were able to play out the corner, but did not score.