A defensive battle for the majority of the bout, it was Centennial that remained perfect, defeating visiting Atholton 2-1 in overtime Tuesday.
With less than five minutes remaining in extra time, Anna Mitchell sent a ball to Reese Western — a left-footed forward — who hit a shot on her right that caught the corner post and ricocheted back into the goal, sealing the deal for the Eagles.
“Going into overtime, we just knew we had to keep up the intensity that we had, because we knew Atholton would come in with just as much,” Western said. “We just had to outplay them.”
These teams are known for their close contests, as each of the pair’s last five meetings resulted in overtime.
Atholton freshman Lexi Sutton struck first for the Raiders, netting a rebound ball off Rachel Moon’s crossbar shot with 16 minutes remaining in the second half.
The Eagles were only able to force overtime after Western connected on a small cross chip with freshman Jasmine McCree, who recorded the tying goal—her first on varsity—with just two minutes left in regulation.
“I think the key is that Anna Mitchell plays an early ball,” coach Centennial Steve Baxter said about his team’s ability to come back and tie the game. “At that point, Reese just does a good job for us. She just has good speed.”
As Western received the pass from Mitchell, her cross caught McCree, who acted as the backside runner on the play. Baxter said it’s this type of strategy that his team wanted to get back to throughout the contest.
“We tried to play our style of play, but Atholton was definitely hungry,” he said. “They won a lot more 50-50 balls.”
Baxter referred to Mitchell as the game’s “unsung hero,” after her assist and quality play kept the Eagles in the game.
“She did a fantastic job checking back to the ball just as she did to earn the assist on the winning goal,” he said.
Atholton Coach Stephanie Stoutenborough said she was “a little nervous” entering such a big county match-up, especially after dropping two games the previous week. Following Tuesday’s overtime loss, however, the coach said she was proud of the way her squad performed.
“If we continue to play the way we played today, I think we’ll just improve each game,” she said. “I think with time, we’ll start working together. Come mid-October, we’ll be ready for the playoffs.”
Around the county
Howard recorded its first win of the season Tuesday, taking down home team Glenelg 3-0.
In the first half, senior Katie Cocozza sent a through-ball to junior Nia Elbeck, who dribbled by the Gladiators’ goalie for the game’s first score.
In the second half, Howard added two more goals. Amanda Matus connected with Fern Peters, who beat a defender and scored on the far post.
With ten minutes left, Catherine Sims played a through-ball to Hanna Weaver, who challenged the Glenelg keeper one-on-one and scored.
Wilde Lake defeated Long Reach 2-0, in what coach Davia Procida called “a big win” for the Wildecats.
Kristin Edwards sent a through-ball to Carliane Laguerre, who scored to give Wilde Lake the lead. Sarah Hulit’s free kick to Rachel Lazris resulted in the Wildecats’ second score of the night.