When the North Harford and Fallston girls soccer teams met yesterday, neither could help thinking about last year.
The Hawks remembered a thrilling 1-0 upset on their own turf. Fallston players couldn't forget the stunning disappointment that kept them out of the county title race.
Revenge turned out to be the better motivator yesterday.
Sophomore left wing Jenny Weber scored just seven minutes into the game to spark host Fallston (4-3 overall, 2-0 league) to a 3-0 victory in a Harford County game.
"It was definitely a grudge match," said Fallston coach Nancy Ferguson. "We went up there last year and did nothing but stand around. I told the kids to remember how they felt after
that game. They felt terrible and they should have. That stayed with me for a month."
Yesterday, the Cougars rarely left a ball untouched. They out-hustled North Harford (5-1, 1-1), winning almost every ball on the ground and in the air.
"We had the edge in the midfield area," said Fallston fullback Cindy Jenkins. "We were always chipping the ball up and letting the forwards work with it."
Jenkins assisted on the Cougars' second goal late in the first half. Her direct kick from near midfield went to forward Gina Penn. Hawks sweeper Heather Ledebur lunged but missed, leaving Penn one-on-one with keeper Krista Doyle. Penn dribbled for a couple steps then shot perfectly into the far corner.
Carrie Grable added Fallston's third goal late in the second half. When Katie Kunsman's shot bounced off a defender, Grable booted the ball over Doyle's head from about 20 yards out.
"This was our best game overall in terms of aggressiveness and passing, switching fields. I was really pleased," said Ferguson, who starts eight underclassmen.
North Harford co-coach Ray Hruz his team may have looked past Fallston to Wednesday's game against defending county co-champ C. Milton Wright.
"We'll have to see how we rebound from this," Hruz said. "One loss still puts you in contention for the county title. I've seen a lot of 6-1 records win it, but Fallston is definitely in the driver's seat now."