Catonsville midfielder Allison Dingle proved resourceful on offense during a couple important minutes of the first half in Tuesday's showdown against Baltimore County rival Perry Hall.
From there, an organized defensive front took care of the rest as the No. 6 Comets came away with a 2-0 home win over the No. 8 Gators.
Dingle finished off scoring chances in the 23rd and 33rd minutes and central defender Lauren Vogelpohl played big in helping keep the lead. Catonsville improves to 2-1 overall and 1-0 in Baltimore County, while Perry Hall falls to 1-1 and 0-1 in league play.
After the visiting Gators controlled most of the early minutes, it was the Comets who were able to strike first when Dingle found time and space from 20 yards out and buried a shot to the far post for a 1-0 lead. Her second goal — with 7:36 to play in the first half — was another well-placed shot from far away to give the Comets all the offense they would need.
"This was our first home game and we came in wanting to win this more than anything," Dingle said. "On my first goal, I had the ball and no one was on me, so I just saw an opportunity, took a shot and it went in. It was just great."
Catonsville veteran coach James Fitzpatrick said a big key to success for the Comets this season will be how well they press in the attacking third. It starts with the defense collectively pressing up and the team working the ball through midfielders Kelsey Scott and Dingle before getting the ball up front to talented forwards like Jennifer Nonn. Dingle showed if she's left free, she can score as well as distribute.
"It's all a matter of taking opportunities while they are given to you and Allison did that well today," Fitzpatrick said. "It's a matter of seeing an opportunity and going for it — just taking the chance — that's really what scoring goals in soccer is all about. If you wait for absolute full chances you may never get one. You have to see half a chance, take half a chance and hope the ball goes your way."
For the Gators, it came down to not being able to put one away when they were dominating possession in the early going. While they were having success getting the ball in the offensive third, the Comets defense was able to get in the way of any quality scoring chances. Senior forward Sofia Perzan had a chance from 14 yards go high in the first 10 minutes. With the Comets leading 1-0 and 13:05 left in the first half, Maria Ambridge hit a shot from 16 yards that Vogelpohl blocked in front.
Perry Hall coach Rick Testerman saw some positives and negatives from the early-season game and challenged his players to work on improving. He also was quick to credit the Comets and their strong second half in protecting their lead.
"I think if we could have scored first [it may have been a different outcome]. That's the dynamic we need with this team right now," he said. "It's the mental side that we have to get better at. We have a lot of talent, we have speed, we have finishers, we have everything we need — we just got to have the mindset."
6 Catonsville 2, 8 Perry Hall 0
Goals: C – Dingle 2.
Saves: PH – Lent 3, Olcott 3; C – Croom 4.
Half: C, 2-0.