Bel Air and visiting Edgewood each brought an impressive stat to Friday's girls soccer showdown.
The host and No. 9 Bobcats had yielded only one goal in their first nine games, while the No. 13 Rams had scored an average of four goals per game over nine contests.
Something had to give, and at the end, it wasn't the home team's defense.
Playing fast and organized, Bel Air earned a 3-0 win over Edgewood in a key Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference game in Bel Air.
Senior defender Bailey Gaisor played a key role at both ends, playing solid defense and scoring the game's first goal in the first half. Seniors Natalie Decker and Jordan Layfield scored three minutes apart early in the second half with sophomore Juliana Portera assisting on both to put the game out of reach.
Bel Air improves to 8-2 on the season and remains undefeated in the league's Chesapeake division at 4-0. The upstart Rams, which made an impressive jump to the league's top division,are now 8-2 overall and 3-1 in the Chesapeake.
With the first half largely played on even terms, Gaisor pushed forward and found a loose ball at her feet right at the 18-yard mark. She quickly fired a shot that found the near left corner to give the Bobcats a 1-0 lead with 6:49 left in the half. It was her second career goal and still had her feeling thrilled after the game.
"It really gets you pumped up. You get excited," said Gaisor, a left fullback. "Like now, I'm still riding the train of momentum. It just gets you pumped and you feel like you're contributing more than just being back. It's working hard and getting some credit for your defense."
Shortly after Gaisor provided the Bobcats the 1-0 lead, the Rams had their best opportunity of the game when senior Megan Poniatowski had the ball deep inside the box. But by the time she was able to get off a shot, Bel Air senior defender Morgan Rusinko quickly closed on her to thwart the chance.
Bel Air defenders Caroline Lozzi and Anna Wehland also helped contain the dangerous Rams, and goalie Andrea Sipos came up with four saves.
"Our defense just plays really organized, they play as a team and you can't really pick out any one individual player that plays well because the whole defense does," Bel Air coach Josh Clemmer said. "So it's fun to watch them play, shift as a unit and play a solid game every time.
"When you have two teams that are left undefeated matching up this late in the season, it's always going to be a big game. My girls felt it coming in and we could tell from the energy of Edgewood that they felt it too. Both teams played solid."
The Rams got a strong all-around effort from senior Ladae Boykin. Senior goalie Nasia Denegal stopped seven shots
"I feel like it was pretty evenly matched, however, they took advantage of their opportunities to score and we really didn't at all," Edgewood coach Mike Friskey said. "Give them credit. They played hard, they were physical against us, they stepped to the ball more than we did and they won the balls to score the goals."
9 Bel Air , 13 Edgewood
Goals: BA – Gaisor, N. Decker, Layfield
Assists: BA – Portera 2.
Saves: E – Denegal 7; BA – Sipos 4.
Half: BA, 1-0Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun