Inspired play helps Centennial girls soccer team forge a tie

After a "lackluster" effort in a 2-0 loss to Arundel in the opening round of the Anne Arundel Community College tournament on Saturday, Centennial played "much more inspired soccer" Monday against Chesapeake and finished with a 2-2 tie in a controversial game.

Coach Steve Baxter said two freshmen combined to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead five minutes into the second half. Megan Oliver took a through ball down the line and cut in toward goal. She found Reese Western in the middle of the box and sent her the ball. Western finished nicely from about eight yards out on a well-placed strike for her first varsity goal, he said.

Senior Katie Judd broke free soon after the first goal and nailed a shot, but it ricocheted off the post and right back to the keeper.

With 16 minutes left in the game and the score still 1-0, one of Chesapeake's coaches was ejected from the game and "she refused to leave," Baxter said. "The head official ended the game. For several minutes the decision was debated with the tournament director and the game was then resumed. I allowed it without protest, but all of the momentum we had established the entire second half was lost."

The rest of the game was evenly contested.

Centennial missed a 1v1 opportunity as Anna Mitchell sent a shot to the far post, but the Chesapeake keeper made a diving save. With 11:30 left in the game, Chesapeake took advantage of a defensive mistake, earned a corner kick and converted it into a goal for a 1-1 tie.

A couple minutes later, Chesapeake earned a free kick from 40 yards out. "The player took a shot and our keeper mishandled the ball to a crashing Chesapeake player who knocked the ball into the net for a 2-1 lead," said Baxter. "Those two goals were only Chesapeake's fifth and sixth shots on goal for the game."

Centennial tied the game with 7:45 left on the scoreboard. Carolyn Eichhorn sent a through ball to Mitchell, who finished for her first goal of the season.

"This was a much better effort against a team that we felt was every bit as good or better than Arundel. The Arundel game was indescribable to me. It was like being in the twilight zone. All we could do was regroup and move on by playing the way we are capable of playing. We improved in every single aspect of the game today and the coaching staff is very satisfied.

"The difference is we showed up to play and simply played hard. … Overall, it was a great game and with any luck at all, we would have had a 3-0 lead late," Baxter said.

Centennial had 12 shots on goal. Keeper Lyndsay Davis had four saves.

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