Girls Soccer: O'Neill gets second chance, Cavs clip Glenelg

For a second, South Carroll girls soccer senior Megan O’Neill thought she was cursed.

Late in the first half at Glenelg on Wednesday night, coach Andrew Isacco called on O’Neill to take a penalty shot after a Cavaliers player induced contact in the box. O’Neill readied herself, trotted up to the ball and unleashed a liner toward the goal.


The shot sailed wide to the right.

Minutes into the second frame, O’Neill had another golden opportunity to score. She corralled a through ball on the left side and outran the Gladiators defenders. She then unleashed a shot, which skidded past the goalie but then hit the left crossbar.

“I was like, ‘I’ve got to follow this one up,’” O’Neill said. “I thought that I was jinxed or something.”

And finally, O’Neill received some good fortune. The ball rolled back to her, and with goalkeeper Kendall Castor on the ground after trying to make a diving save, O’Neill easily finished the rebound attempt, breaking the 1-1 tie.

Glenelg put together some quality scoring chances later in the period but could not convert, meaning O’Neill’s goal served as the difference maker in the Cavaliers’ season-opening 2-1 victory.

“She’s one of our toughest players,” Isacco said. “It’s her third year on varsity. She’s mentally strong and she’s physically strong. I don’t worry about her. I know she’s always got our back, and just puts stuff aside and goes back out there. In the second half she showed it. She went out and she scored a goal, and as a coach, you live to have players like that.”

South Carroll's Katie Carroll (6) beats Glenelg's Hope Grezbien to the ball as she gets set to pass it up the field during a girls soccer game at Glenelg High School on Wednesday, Sept. 12.
South Carroll's Katie Carroll (6) beats Glenelg's Hope Grezbien to the ball as she gets set to pass it up the field during a girls soccer game at Glenelg High School on Wednesday, Sept. 12. (Brian Krista / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

It was a back-and-forth affair between the Cavaliers and their Howard County counterpart, which split the first two games of its season.

There were penalty kicks and precise through balls. Each team had several chances to score, the opposing defense thwarted many of those with its technique and tenacity.

The first goal, which occurred about 16 minutes into the match, came during a scrum near the Gladiators’ net. Players from both sides kicked the ball around before it landed on the foot of junior Katie Carroll, who saw plenty of open space in front of her. She then calmly finished to open the scoring.

The Gladiators, meanwhile, struggled to create shots around the net early on. They’d bring the ball into the attacking third, only to lose possession or have a South Carroll player clear the ball away. Junior goalkeeper Paige Abbott, making her first-career varsity start, was rarely tested before the break.

There were a few chances, though, like when Glenelg senior midfielder Hope Grzebien made a run down the right side and towards the goal. She could not get a shot off but forced the next best scenario: a foul in the box.

With about five minutes left before intermission, Grzebien followed coach Christian von Rautenkranz’s advice about keeping her penalty shot on the ground and letting it skid on the wet turf.

She directed her shot to the left, where Abbott could not get to it in time.

Her strike tied the game, but it was O’Neill’s second-half shot that sealed the win for the Cavaliers. They’ll hope to build on this triumph going forward.


Goals: SC-Katie Carroll, Megan O’Neill; G-Hope Grzebien.

Saves: SC: 7 (Paige Abbott); G: 2 (Kendall Castor).

Halftime: Tied, 1-1.