WINFIELD — South Carroll lost to Century by 10 goals on April 15, and that game cost the Cavaliers a chance at repeating as Carroll County Athletic League champions.
Friday night at Parker Field, the Cavs made sure that the visiting Knights wouldn't end their season for a second year in a row. South Carroll led the entire game and defeated Century 14-10 in a Class 2A West Section I semifinal.
The Cavaliers (12-1) scored the first three goals of the contest and used that momentum to fend off the Knights and capture victory.
"It means a lot, these girls work their tails off. They knew they wanted to come out here and go on in the playoffs and they didn't want this to be the last game," SC coach Brigid Scanlon said. "They were our one loss so we knew that they were going to be tough and that we had to come out and start stronger."
Riley Evans put the Cavs on the board with when she finished a pass from Shannon Finch a little less than 2 minutes into the game. Evans scored a game-high four goals and was critical for South Carroll winning draws throughout the game.
From start to finish South Carroll played patiently on offense and took care of the ball, not rushing or being panicked when Century (12-3) started to cut into the lead. Following goals from South Carroll's Jenna McDermott and Finch, Century faceed an early 3-0 deficit, with 19:43 remaining in the opening half.
The Knights scored twice in less than two minutes, with goals from Christina Haspert and Demma Hall, and stayed within two goals of South Carroll for the remainder of the first half.
A big reason why the Cavs never relinquished the lead was stellar play from their goalie Julia Weiss and the rest of the defense. Weiss registered seven saves, numerous times keeping Century from evening up the score. South Carroll constantly communicated on defense and put itself in positions to succeed.
"We have the best defense in the state I think and it's really helpful and helps me get easy saves and it just makes it really fun," Weiss said.
Taking a 7-5 lead into halftime, South Carroll needed to keep up the scoring pace on offense and once again it answered the call with a strong start in the second half. Finch notched the opening goal of the final half followed by two from Paige Abbott, who netted all three of her goals in the second half.
McDermott and Finch each finished with two goals as South Carroll's other players with multiple goals.
"It felt amazing because we just wanted to keep up our momentum ... we wanted to prove to them that we were the better team and that we could come out here and compete," Abbott said.
Century turned up the aggressiveness in the second half and stayed within striking distance, although ultimately the CCAL champions couldn't extend its season. Last week the Knights lost one of their top performers when midfielder Grace Bruce went down with an injury, putting them at a disadvantage.
Hall and Anna Hackett each had three goals to lead Century.
"I think we had a great season, our team played really well until about spring break and then we kind of lost our momentum and our drive to get better," Century coach Becky Groves said. "I felt like, to me, we were playing not to lose instead of playing to win and South Carroll did an excellent job really figuring out our zone and using every weapon they had.
"South Carroll is a really good team and we played very well the first time we played them so I really felt like this would be a good game with Grace or without Grace.”
The Cavs move onto the sectional final Monday, against either Winters Mill or Oakdale. The Falcons play the Bears on May 11 in Ijamsville. One thing that has helped South Carroll this season is its ability to play together and rely on each other, the Cavs said.
"Being able to work together for so long really helps," Weiss said before being joined by Abbott and Evans to add, “We're an absolute unit.”
Goals: C-Demma Hall 3, Anna Hackett 3, Christina Haspert 2, Maddie Bates, Caroline Little; SC: Riley Evans 4, Paige Abbott 3, Shannon Finch 2, Jenna McDermott 2, Abbey Behn, Sydney Hill.
Assists: C-Haspert; SC-Behn 2, Finch, Caelin Stromberg, Hill.
Saves: C-4 (Brooke Harper); SC-7 (Julia Weiss).
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Halftime: SC, 7-5.