Soccer is a game of ebb and flow, South Carroll coach Andrew Isacco said. Goals will be given up, but the response to those situations can define an outcome.
When the Cavaliers went down to host Francis Scott Key early in the county opener for both teams, they responded just as Isacco had hoped they would.
The Cavaliers utilized goals from seven different players in an 8-2 victory Tuesday. Two of those goals were scored by junior midfielder Lexi Winkler and junior midfielder Megan O’Neill added a goal and an assist.
“It’s a coach’s dream, I can look on the bench and when I pull kids off the bench on to the field, we don’t have a drop off in quality and that’s what you want as a coach,” Isacco said. “It’s a great feeling to look back on the bench and go ‘Oh OK, I can slide this person in and not lose anything,’ so it’s total team mentality.
“Everybody knows ‘Hey, next person up,’ and we give them an opportunity. You have kids like Jessie Beddow and Annie Buckley who took great advantage of the time they were given tonight and I’m really happy for both of them.”
Beddow and Buckley played crucial roles on the Cavaliers’s offense, each scoring a goal in the second half.
The Eagles capitalized on their defensive pressure, stopping some early scoring chances from the Cavaliers early in the game. They switched the field with a little over 30 minutes remaining in the half and Weller scored to give FSK a 1-0 lead with 29:44 on the clock.
O’Neill connected with senior forward Alyssa Chesney, who sent the ball flying to the back of the net with 13:23 left in the first half to even the score, 1-1.
The momentum started to kick in for the Cavaliers shortly after that.
South Carroll notched a free kick, sending the ball deep into the Eagles’ defensive zone with less than two minutes remaining in the first. Winkler found the ball at her feet and quickly snapped it past FSK goalie Haley Sawyers to put SC in the lead.
Sawyers, a junior, made a game-high 14 saves and her reliever, Emily Dell, made seven saves in the second half.
“I think in previous years when playing FSK, we thought we had it already from the beginning,” Winkler said. “Once they scored it really motivated us, like we’re not going to let this happen so we made sure we came back in the second half to win it.”
Isacco was pleased with the composure his team showed in the second half, referencing to their improvement of controlling the ball at their feet. SC increased its pressure and didn’t let it falter, scoring six more goals in final half. The Cavaliers were up by five when FSK freshman Kallie Palubo trimmed the deficit 6-2 with 2:38 left to play.
“It’s great because we can all work together and move the ball around and all the shots we had, there were so many, it was crazy,” Winkler said. “It’s a good start and we’re just going to keep getting better.”
Goals: SC-Lexi Winkler 2, Alyssa Chesney, Annie Buckley, Megan O’Neill, Kabe Brauer, Natalie Hoff, Jessie Beddow; FSK-Marina Weller, Kallie Palumbo.
Assists: SC-Hailey Bar-Haim 2, Brooke Sadler 2, O’Neill, Chesney,
Saves: SC-2 (Natalie Hoff, Emilee Sheaffer); FSK-21 (Haley Sawyers 14, Emily Dell 7).
Halftime: South Carroll, 2-1.