Catonsville’s girls soccer squad was content to control the time of possession and slow the tempo for much of the first half in Wednesday night’s home game against Dulaney (3-3-3).
But, when Dulaney senior Caroline Meegan scored the game's first goal with 8:30 left in the first half, after Gina Legaluppi’s through ball, the Comets (8-1) turned the gear up a notch and rallied with three unanswered goals for a 3-1 victory.
Meegan’s goal was answered less than two minutes later when Deanna Eveland’s cross was deposited into the back of the net by Jenn Nonn.
“Their goal was a wakeup call,” Catonsville coach James Fitzpatrick said. “I thought we answered it well. By us getting the equalizer right back, it got us into halftime so we could make the adjustments and I thought we made the adjustments well.”
The Comet defense of wingbacks Anna Higdon and Katie Viets, sweeper Lauren Vogelpohl, stopper Renee Gast and defensive midfielder Nicole Jouan did just that, holding the Lions without a shot in the second half.
“I think it was a little bit difficult getting the ball past them because they’ve got a very quick defense,” said Meegan, who was shocked to get the opportunity in the first half of her first game back after returning from a hyper-extended knee and strained ligaments.
“I was kind of surprised. I wasn’t really expecting it because I know I’m really out of shape coming off the injury, but to be able to get up there and get the ball was very exciting.”
Getting the ball past the defense was just what Catonsville’s attacking midfielder Ali Dingle did remarkably well in the second half.
With just under 30 minutes left in regulation, Dingle led Nonn from beyond midfield and the sophomore scoring dynamo gave the Comets a 2-1 lead.
“Earlier, I was told to play the ball faster, so once I got the ball I turned and saw her running so I tried to get it between her and the defender and when I passed it I knew she could get on it,” Dingle said.
Dulaney coach Steve Power wasn’t surprised she got to it either.
“Nonn had some beautiful run throughs.” Power said.
Dingle had another carbon copy through ball with under two minutes left and Deb Milani punched it in for the 3-1 victory margin.
Dulaney’s best scoring chances came on shots from Emma Patron and Jessica Bohn in the first half before they got the goal from Meegan.
“The through balls were there, but we couldn’t get to them, so it was challenging for us because they are a strong team,” Meegan said.
Dulaney coach Power wouldn’t use multiple injuries, including a torn anterior cruciate ligament and torn medial collateral ligament to All-County standout and Elon University recruit Livvie O’Brien, as an excuse.
“Injuries isn’t an excuse,” he said. “They’ve got a really good passing team and they play their style and we can’t really touch the ball the same way they can so we try to play a little more direct.”
Catonsville’s Fitzpatrick knows about dealiing with injuries too.
He lost standout sophomore Lauren McDonald to a torn ACL in a pre-season scrimmage.
“We knew that Dulaney was going to be a tough squad and they were going to be well-coached,” he said.
He also knew his team had to play faster.
“We tell them, ‘Be in a hurry, but don’t be in a rush,’" he said.
That has worked for victories in eight of the first nine games, with the only loss coming against Eastern Tech, 1-0.