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Westminster freshman Regan Miller, right, celebrates with teammates Mackenzie Miller (8) and Erika Lewis (2) after scoring a goal in the first half of the Owls' 3-1 win over South Carroll in Westminster Monday, Oct. 12, 2015.
Westminster freshman Regan Miller, right, celebrates with teammates Mackenzie Miller (8) and Erika Lewis (2) after scoring a goal in the first half of the Owls' 3-1 win over South Carroll in Westminster Monday, Oct. 12, 2015.(DYLAN SLAGLE/STAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times)

Chances are, Westminster freshman midfielder Regan Miller will always remember her first varsity goal.

It was a line-drive missile from about 35 yards away. It sailed above a helpless goalkeeper. It was a game-winner.

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Miller's direct kick goal in the fifth minute powered the Owls to a 3-1 win over South Carroll on Monday night.

When Miller's shot sailed into the top of the net, surprised spectators cheered and nearby teammates rushed in for hugs. Miller smiled and quickly retreated, readying for the resumption of play.

The goal wasn't unprecedented from one of Westminster's youngest players. Miller is one of three freshmen on the roster.

"I've scored from that far away before," she said, referencing a club soccer tally from distance.

From the second she lined up in the center of the field, she was going for the back of the net.

The quick goal gave the Owls (6-4, 2-2 county) a lead they never relinquished in a showdown between two evenly matched county teams.

But Miller's goal wasn't the only highlight-worthy tally.

Senior midfielder Casey Ebeling scored directly off a corner kick for South Carroll (4-4, 2-3). Her corner sailed near the goal and then bounced in without deflection. It was the sort of goal that US men's soccer captain Michael Bradley is known for. Both Bradley and Ebeling wear the No. 4.

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Her intent was to place the ball near the net, she said.

"But honestly," she said, "that was mostly luck."

The corner kick tally cut the Westminster lead to 2-1 with 28 minutes left. But the Owls were just too much.

Westminster got second-half goals from sophomore Taylor Whitmer and senior Georgia Gillcrist.

Whitmer's goal came in the first minute of the second half from point-blank range. She was denied just before halftime by South Carroll goalie Emily McQuarrie (six saves). Whitmer's bending shot appeared destined for the corner of the net before McQuarrie's leaping deflection.

Gillcrist, one of Westminster's catalysts, scored on a breakaway opportunity after deking a defender and firing a line drive from close range.

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The Owls defense made the lead stand. Aggressive Owls goalie Emily Maseth had eight saves.

Senior defender Riley Zentz halted two Cavaliers' second half-chances. With Maseth away from goal, Zentz, the only player between the net and a charging South Carroll attacker, calmly kicked the ball out of danger. She also had a clear that stopped a potential counterattack before it started.

Timely goals. Sound defense. Pivotal saves. Recipe for a win.

"That's probably one of the best games we have played this year," Gillcrist said.

The Cavaliers, nursing a few injuries, are hoping to get to full strength before the playoffs begin. Still looming on the schedule is a showdown against rival Century on Oct. 20. South Carroll coach Andrew Isacco said every county showdown is a battle.

"Every team in this county is good," he said. "You can't have a night off."

And when Miller scored from distance just minutes in, it wound up being the difference.

"To score that quickly in a game," Westminster coach Todd Muschik said. "That gives you momentum."

Goals: SC-Casey Ebeling; W-Regan Miller, Taylor Whitmer, Georgia Gillcrist

Assists: None.

Saves: SC-6 (Emily McQuarrie); W-8 (Emily Maseth).

Halftime: Westminster, 1-0.

JV result: Westminster, 3-2.

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