Winning as many games as possible during a shortened girls soccer season ranked high on Century’s list of goals before the modified fall campaign began in early March.
Posting five shutouts in six games, and allowing one goal during that entire span, is enough to make Knights defender Emily Streett beam with pleasure.
One of Century’s senior captains roams the back line and is responsible for thwarting the opposition’s advances. Street and a handful of teammates did just that Tuesday against Liberty, and the Knights came away with a 2-0 win that locked up the Carroll County Athletic League championship.
Century returned April 9 after missing some time because of COVID-19 issues and defeated Manchester Valley, but didn’t look rusty Tuesday in their second match this season against Liberty thanks in part to a stellar defensive effort.
“All the shutouts are just amazing and [sophomore goalie Mia Graff] is doing so great for being a goalie. She never plays goalie for club,” Streett said. “Our whole back line just works so well together and it’s so nice to see that we are doing so good.”
Streett was joined by Graff in the net, junior Lauren Hackett, and sophomores Jane Brewer and Alayna Gifford as Century’s starting defensive unit that made things tricky for Liberty all night. The Lions put together an offensive charge in the first few minutes of the game, but struggled to string together more solid scoring chances the rest of the way.
Century (6-0) struck first with 12 minutes remaining in the half. Sophomore midfielder Emily Beall-Dennell came off the field because of an injury with about 22 minutes to play, but was in position 10 or so minutes later to connect from the top of the box on an arcing shot that got over the outstretched hands of Liberty keeper Lauren Mondor.
The Lions (4-3) played their own solid defense throughout, led by seniors Val Davis, Maddie McDaniels, and Erin Mulholland. And Mondor stood tall in goal with 10 saves. Liberty focused on Century junior forward Haley Greenwade, the 2019 Times Player of the Year and a potent scoring threat.
But the Knights took advantage of another opportunity with 26 minutes to go ― Liberty got called for a foul inside the box, and sophomore Melody Levia drilled a penalty kick just inside the left post to give Century a 2-0 lead.
Two-goal advantages likely feel much bigger for Streett, her fellow defenders, and coach Sara Figuly.
“I’m definitely a defensive person, so that’s a huge thing that we really focus on,” Figuly said. “We don’t like to make subs back there, we like to find our consistent group of four girls. We did have some injuries [this year], and the girls who filled in did absolutely great.”
The game at times carried a playoff-type atmosphere, with fans on both sides urging their team to get the better of its rival. Perhaps Century was buoyed by its vocal student section that sported Knights boys soccer jerseys and made the most noise of the evening.
Century has one regular-season game remaining, Thursday at Francis Scott Key. But the Knights already have the county crown based on winning percentage, something Streett said makes this fall season quite the success.
“It feels so great. Coach Figuly was actually talking at the start of the season how it would be amazing if we won [the county title],” Streett said. “Coming into this season, we lost a lot of key players so it was nice to see everybody step up and actually make sure that we win.”