Century girls soccer coach Sara Figuly told her players they had to play quicker on the field.
The Knights had plenty of opportunities to find the back of the net during the early stages of their Carroll County Athletic League matchup against crosstown rival Liberty, and the girls were confident that something would finally stick.
That moment came when junior defender Olivia Mead sent a free kick into the defensive zone with 12 minutes, 29 seconds remaining, play and senior defender Emily Streett tapped the ball into the goal with her right foot. The eventual game-winner helped the Knights secure a 1-0 victory and improve to 2-0 this season.
“It felt amazing, it was awesome,” Streett said. “Since I usually play defense, I haven’t scored in a while so it felt amazing to try and get everybody excited to make sure this is serious and they knew we needed to win.”
Lions junior midfielder Jordan Townsend sent a free kick into the Knights’ zone at the 26-minute mark of the first half, but Knights sophomore goalie Mia Graff pushed the ball out into play despite pressure from the Lions’ offense.
Century junior forward Haley Greenwade moved the ball through two Lions defenders and past goalie Erin Mulholland for a short breakaway, but Lions senior defender Maddy McDaniels met her with a big stop and sent the ball out of play before Greenwade could finish her shot with about 20 minutes left in the first half.
Townsend took a pair of free kicks about 3 minutes, 30 seconds apart and both were set up nicely in front of the Knights’ goal, but one shot was saved and the other was kicked over the net by sophomore midfielder Madi Rytina.
Liberty had two set piece chances from senior midfielder Emma Bauer about midway through the second half, but both were kicked back out into play by the Knights.
Century and Liberty opened the season with wins on Tuesday — the Knights defeated Manchester Valley and the Lions beat Westminster. Liberty went 12-4 last season, but fell to the Knights in the Class 2A West playoffs on Oct. 29, 2019.
“When you score against your rivals, it’s very amazing,” Greenwade said. “The entire game, I knew one was coming, especially me and the other forwards. We had a bunch of chances that we just couldn’t execute but once Emily got it, we knew we were going to be fine.”
Greenwade, the 2019 Times Player of the Year, led Carroll County with 23 goals and four assists and helped lead the Knights to a 16-1 record, a CCAL title, and an appearance in the Class 2A state semifinals.
“Something we’ve been working on is crossing and finishing the ball,” Figuly said. “That was great because we got to see it come together but also it was two defenders, one to another.”
Goals: C-Emily Streett
Assists: C-Olivia Mead
Saves: L-9 (Lauren Mondor); C-7 (Mia Graff).
Halftime: Tied, 0-0.