WINFIELD — It's almost as if Tori Franklin can predict the future.
With a little less than six minutes to go in overtime, South Carroll's Allison Sturm connected with Franklin amid a scramble in Gerstell's defensive territory. Franklin, a junior midfielder, fired the ball just past the reach of Gerstell goalie Jillian Wilson, and immediately leaped in the air with joy.
A swarm of Cavaliers swamped her with hugs and their teammates on the sideline rushed to join the celebration.
Franklin's lone goal gave South Carroll a 1-0 victory over Gerstell at Parker Field on Tuesday.
"As soon as overtime started, we all got really excited and hyped up," Franklin said. "We were ready to play and I knew we were going to pull it off because we were all so excited. Allison's ball was beautiful and I was able to finish it at the right time."
The Falcons entered Tuesday's matchup unbeaten at 4-0 and weren't planing on letting that undefeated record slip away. South Carroll generated plenty of scoring chances with pressure from Gerstell's defense, but SC's shots were either too high or too wide.
Freshman midfielder Jossalin Hughes almost gave Gerstell a 1-0 lead with 29:02 remaining in the second half, but her clean shot skimmed the top left of the crossbar and bounced back. About 10 minutes later, the same thing happened to SC's Alyssa Chesney when her shot fell just short of the goal after grazing the bar.
At one point in the second half, the Cavs (2-1) fired off five straight shots — three of which were right into the hands of Wilson, who finished with nine saves.
"It's frustrating because you're generating lots of opportunities but you're not putting any in the back of the net," Cavs coach Andrew Isacco said. "I've been involved with the sport long enough to know there's games where you can out-shoot and out-possess another team and they sneak in a goal on the counterattack.
"They almost had that one that bounced off the post and we responded. It was frustrating because she's a good keeper and you can't take that away from her. I wish we would have placed some of our shots a little bit better and been more patient on some of our shots. She kept them in the game and all credit goes to her."
Gerstell junior forward Maddie Bauhof took the majority of throw-ins for the Falcons and one of her sideline throws nearly met the back of South Carroll's net before it was tipped away by Cavs goalie Christina White.
Franklin said that after last weekend's tournament, their nerves had settled prior to entering Tuesday's game. Pulling away with the win made it just a tad sweeter.
"I think this is a really good way to kick off the season," Franklin said. "We have the potential to be really good this year so I'm excited."
Isacco, whose team defeated Gerstell 5-0 to open the 2015 season, had predicted this game would be tough. Prior to the start of the season, he said the Cavs' success would depend on how quickly they could develop as a team.
Next up for South Carroll is a home match Thursday against Linganore.
"They've [Gerstell] got really good players over there and they're well coached," he said. "We're fortunate, any time you can come away with the 'W' you're happy and I wanted to communicate a bit better. There were some times where I thought we panicked and didn't play the feed as music as I'd like but you can't fault their effort and my kids never quit so I'm really proud of them for hanging in there and getting that game winning goal."
Carroll County Daily Headlines
Goals: SC-Tori Franklin.
Assists: SC-Allison Sturm.
Saves: G-9 (Jillian Wilson); SC-7 (Christina White).
Halftime: Tied, 0-0.