For one half, Chesapeake senior Jaime Long made sure her team didn't give up a goal. Then, she made sure the Cougars didn't give up the lead.
Long moved up from her stopper position and scored twice in the second half, lifting No. 9 Chesapeake past No. 8 Old Mill, 3-0, last night in Pasadena.
Long helped contain Old Mill's Michelle Salmon in the first half, preventing the senior forward from adding to her county-leading total of 12 goals.
"I wasn't marking her. She just happened to be where I was playing," Long said. "She was in the middle, so I was covering her."
Chesapeake (4-0-1) took a 1-0 lead at 14:24 of the first half when junior Melissa Wagner gathered a crossing pass from Erin Thomas and lofted a left-footed shot from about 20 yards inside the left post.
The lead grew to 2-0 at 6:06 of the second half when Long lined a shot into an open net after goalkeeper Jackie Bardelli had come out to play the ball. Long had fallen, but she recovered in time to score.
"I saw her coming at me and I figured I'd distract her because she's a little bigger than me," Long said. "I did not know where the ball was until I got up and heard footsteps, and I turned around and saw her trying to clear it and I just ran after it and beat her to the ball."
The Cougars made it 3-0 at 29:55 when Long got her foot on a pass from Wagner in midair and directed the ball past Bardelli.
"Their whole team was better than any team we've played up to this point," said Patriots coach Bruce Sponsler, whose squad had posted three shutouts and outscored its opponents 32-2 before last night.
"It's a little bit of a curse when you have such a weak schedule at the beginning of the year. You have to wait so long to get a game like this under your belt. But, hey, tonight we lost the battle. We got beat by a better team tonight."
Chesapeake coach Lin Sullivan, whose team meets co-No. 2 Severna Park tomorrow night, was surprised by the margin of victory.
"I felt we hadn't played up to our potential so far," he said. "Today, we played up to our potential. We were making the offensive opportunities that we weren't making before, we didn't miss some of the opportunities that we missed before. I was absolutely tickled to death with the play."
The win came, in part, from Sullivan's maneuvering of players to different positions and areas of the field. Sponsler had scouted Chesapeake three times, and Sullivan didn't want to give him the same look.
"We figured this was a good time to make a change and try some things to generate some offense," Sullivan said. "We moved Wagner out on the wing and we moved Thomas on the wing. We moved Long up offensively. We moved Chrissy Kohlhepp up to stopper and let Maggie Dziuban sweep. We took some chances."
Sponsler said: "Long and Wagner were two kids who, when we scouted them, didn't look like they were clicking. Tonight, they were clicking, and Chesapeake played so well. We got beat to the ball at midfield. The middle third of the field is where we lost this game.
"I don't know where [Sullivan] got those girls tonight, but this wasn't the same team I saw before. They just played so well tonight, and they were really prepared to play us and we weren't prepared to play them."
Old Mill held a 19-7 advantage in shots, but it was behind in the only statistic that mattered.