Trailing by a goal midway through the first half, the Eastern Tech girls soccer team turned to seniors Emma Koller and Alexis Keller-Posen to seize the moment and ignite a rally that included four straight goals on the way to a 6-2 victory at Catonsville.
The Comets struck first, with 22:15 left in the half, on a corner kick from Ella Lesniewski that was deposited into the net out of midair by Stella Carmello. The Mavericks answered just 85 seconds later on a free kick by Keller-Posen that was flicked ahead by Koller to Elaina Williams who finished it.
Catonsville freshman starting goalie Sarah Graham was injured in a collision on the play and never returned.
Less than two minutes later, Keller-Posen’s long ball led to a breakaway goal by Koller and the Mavericks never relinquished the lead.
Trailing early was not a surprise for Koller.
“I feel like this year our team chemistry is off the boards really good and we are known to trail and then come back,” Koller said. “Once we get down, we all kind of want to step it up because we know that we are better than how we were in the beginning.”
Eastern Tech coach Kim Williams knows she can count on the two veterans, who were key players last year in the Mavericks’ run to the state semifinals.
“They are definitely the leaders, they are four-year seniors and they are definitely hungry to get back as far as we were last year, maybe a little farther. So they are motivated and driven to play well this year,” she said. “I was just impressed with those quick two goals when we were down.”
Catonsville had its first scoring chance in the first five minutes of the game, but a shot by Abby Mitchell hit the far post.
After the Mavericks jumped ahead, they added another goal when Koller capitalized on a miscue with another breakaway goal. The Mavericks extended the lead to 4-1 early in the second half when Jessica Thomas’ corner kick was headed in by Keller-Posen.
The Comets refused to quit and cut the lead to 4-2 when Jordan Edwards tapped in a free kick by Ellie Altmann with more than 30 minutes left in the second half.
Edwards nearly made it a one-goal deficit with 18:15 remaining, when she got clear of the keeper, but her shot on goal was headed out by Williams, who was perched on the goal line.
Williams scored Eastern Tech’s fifth goal on a feed from Keller-Posen after the Comets failed to clear a corner kick. Sophomore Ava Chenowith scored the final tally.
“I get excited about the positives and the goal scoring, but on the other end when there are errors that are just from our side that are causing these goals to get in the net, we are not happy about that,” Catonsville coach Melissa Vega said. “We’ve really got to stay focused all the way through.”
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The loss was the second for the Comets, who defeated Oakland Mills and lost to Centennial in a tournament Saturday.
Eastern Tech improved to 2-0 after a season-opening 9-0 triumph over City, but the road gets much tougher for the defending regional champs.
“We have a tough schedule this year,” Williams said. “We want to win games of course, but our goal is to just get a little stronger with each game and just get ready for playoffs.”
Koller was happy to face a tough opponent heading into a stretch of games against Dulaney, Sparrows Point, Towson and Hereford.
“It’s definitely a good matchup to play, especially coming up with the rest of our season, it’s definitely a lot harder, so this is a good team to play,” Koller said.
Vega, who played multiple reserves throughout the game, just hopes to find a winning combination.
“We still haven’t found that combination, recently we’ve been really solid in the center and that’s where we lost the ball tonight,” Vega said. “It’s a great feeling to be able to bring your bench in, but tonight it was more about we weren’t as dynamic in the center as we are accustomed to being and that cost us.”