FINSKBURG — Gerstell put on a second-half show Monday afternoon.
The Falcons scored four goals in two minutes amidst a 7-0 scoring run to gain a commanding lead over Liberty early in the second half and never faltered as they rallied to win 15-11 at Paterakis Stadium.
Juniors Georgia Blake and Jillian Wilson each scored four goals for the Falcons — Blake's goals all came in the second half. Wilson added a team-high three assists, and Blake had one.
"I think our total team effort really pulled us together," Wilson said. "We capitalized on their mistakes and they're a great team, but I think that our whole entire team worked together today, starting from the back of the net all the way to this back of the net. We just put it all together, everybody played well and we just really worked together."
Sophomore goalie Carly Merlo made 13 saves for the Falcons, a performance Blake and Wilson both praised.
"I just don't let it get in my head," Merlo said. "If a goal goes in, I say 'OK' and make sure the defense is communicating to call the open girl so I know if I'm looking behind and there's a girl coming behind, then I can be right there."
The Falcons (3-2) were looking at a 6-2 deficit with 17 minutes, 23 seconds to play in the first half. Liberty senior midfielders Hannah Miller and Jenny Anuszewski scored twice in that time frame in contribution to the early advantage.
A yellow card was issued to each side about two minutes apart, but both teams were unable to capitalize on the man-up advantage as the next seven minutes went by scoreless.
Freshman Haley Gochnauer fed back-to-back markers to junior Maddie Bauhof and Wilson with less than 10 minutes to go that trimmed the Falcons' deficit to 6-4. Miller scored off a feed from junior midfielder Sophia Harvey for her third tally, but Gerstell's Emily Fenwick tossed one behind Lions goalie Erin Risch from the free position to bring the Falcons within two again.
Gerstell let it all out in the opening minutes of the second half.
Blake scored two straight for the Falcons and her second at 20:51 tied it up 7-7. The Lions called a brief time out and when play resumed, the Falcons netted five more. With 11:44 remaining, Liberty found itself trailing 12-7.
Lions senior midfielder Grace Griffin's two unassisted tallies brought Liberty within three. Gerstell responded with a 3-0 run and Liberty netted the last three goals of the game in the final two minutes.
Griffin scored a team-high four goals and Miller finished with three, including an assist for the Lions (1-2). Junior goalie Erin Risch made five saves in goal.
"Our defensive slides were better in the second half," Gerstell coach Josh Gochnauer said. "They had too many wide open goals, too many easy goals to start but once we were able to play our regular defense, we played much better. We shut them down, I think, in the first 10 minutes of the second half and that allowed us to come back."
Carroll County Daily Headlines
Goals: L-Grace Griffin 4, Hannah Miller 3, Alanna Wray 2, Jenny Anuszewski 2; G-Jillian Wilson 4, Georgia Blake 4, Katie Pettine 2, Maddie Bauhof 2, Haley Gochnauer 2, Emily Fenwick.
Assists: L- Rachel Cueva, Anuszewski, Miller, Harvey; G-Wilson 3, Gochnauer 2, Pettine, Blake.
Saves: L- 5 (Erin Risch); G- 13 (Carly Merlo).
Halftime: Liberty, 7-5.