Westminster sophomore Lauren Saltz said Tuesday’s Carroll County Athletic League victory over Liberty helped the Owls find their flow.
The Owls, led by Saltz and senior midfielder Anna Ruby, defeated host Liberty 17-5 on Tuesday and handed the Lions their first loss of the season.
“I think we struggled through our first few games, initially getting our offense set … and realizing that we don’t need to be so robotic in doing every play and getting down on ourselves when we’re not running it right,” Saltz said.
The Owls (4-2, 3-0 CCAL) scored the first three goals of the game — Saltz scored twice and added an assist on Ruby’s goal. Liberty senior midfielder Heidi Ellis found junior midfielder Alanna Wray for a goal to trim the Lions’ deficit to 3-1 about five minutes in.
Lions goalie Hannah Shrader, who made five saves on the night, stopped a free position shot from Westminster’s Sophie Fischer and Wray fired a shot past Owls goalie Sara Tyssowski to bring Liberty within one, 3-2.
It was all Westminster from there, however, and the Owls scored the next eight goals to carry an 11-2 lead into the half. Ruby’s free position goal sparked the scoring run and she scored her third goal with 10:48 on the clock to give the Owls a 7-2 lead.
Saltz and junior midfielder Faith Chmielewski contributed two goals during that span and junior attacker Chloe Sedlar added a goal and an assist.
Westminster outscored Liberty 6-3 in the second half. Lions junior Morgan Sutherland found senior attacker Leah Faunce for a third goal with 20:45 left to play and Sutherland found the back of the net, unassisted, to give Liberty a fourth goal with less than 10 minutes to play.
“We had a huge mental talk at the practice before and we were basically like ‘We can’t keep waiting for the momentum to just come,’” Ruby added. “We have to have confidence in ourselves and play more competitively. I think that’s shown tonight by the performance of everyone on the team.”
Westminster commanded the draw through the majority of the game and won 14 — the Lions won eight. It’s a trait that helps the Owls get set, Ruby said, and the chemistry in the circle has been a stout part of the team’s offense.
Ellis and Sutherland each contributed a goal and an assist for the Lions (5-1, 1-1).
“I felt like they didn’t give up and the girls played until the final whistle,” Lions coach Tom Brandel said. “They hustled and worked hard and I thought we stayed pretty even and didn’t show what the score was in our faces, just kept working hard. I thought they came up with some ground balls and thought they did a good job on the draw and it kind of started from there.
“They did a good job of time possession and we didn’t do a good job of time possession and they’re a very good team. We knew that going in and our girls fought throughout the whole game.”