The girls soccer picture in the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference seemed to be primed for a change this season.
Four-time defending league champion C. Milton Wright was losing a big chunk of last year's team to graduation. Skill and leadership had to be replaced, not to mention the tight bond the group had developed in reaching the state tournament the previous three years.
In the first Chesapeake division game on Sept. 23, the Mustangs were upset by upstart Edgewood, 4-3, in overtime. Bel Air and Fallston both had plenty of firepower returning to unseat the Mustangs, and Edgewood was now a major factor.
But hold everything.
Since the loss to Edgewood, C. Milton Wright has rattled off four straight division wins.
The biggest came Monday when it handed Bel Air its first division loss. Katie Burgee, Megan Pavlitsa and Adrianna Tarbert scored first-half goals and the Mustangs held off the Bobcats' second-half rally for a 3-2 win.
The Mustangs are now 8-3 overall and 4-1 in the division. A win against Fallston on Wednesday assures them a berth in the UCBAC title game against the Susquehanna division winner at Bel Air on Oct. 22. If Fallston beats or ties C. Milton Wright, Bel Air (10-3 overall, 5-1 in the division) will represent the Chesapeake division next week.
Tarbert leads the team in scoring with Burgee and senior Angela Kuhn also playing big roles. Coach Paul Austin changed formations this season to play to his players' strengths and the focus has been improving every time out.
"At the start of the season, we talked about working hard and improving each practice, each game and each week," he said. "If we had a few bumps in the road early that was OK because we want to be playing at our best at the end."