Before C. Milton Wright played at Bel Air last night, Mustangs coach Ken Dawson pointed out to his unbeaten team that five years ago, a scoreless tie with Bel Air kept his squad from winning a Harford County girls soccer title.
It didn't happen this time, but it did take No. 5 C. M. Wright (8-0-1, 4-0) most of the game to ensure a 2-0 victory. Second-half goals by junior Nicki Kaminski and sophomore Miranda James off feeds from freshman Erin Lesh got the job done.
This one was a matter of speed, with the visitors having a decided edge.
At the same time, Bel Air coach Bill Zimmerman had to move his fastest player, senior Danielle Rohde, from front to back in an effort to counter some of Wright's front-line quickness.
"And I knew it would be a close game," he said.
Dawson cited the crux of the game when he said, "With Becky [Gerhart], Miranda and Amanda [Foust] -- two forwards and a midfielder -- we can put stress on other teams with our speed.
"It was an intense first half, and I thought we were a half-step late in our play -- making the pass, getting to the ball, that sort of thing. We also had more fouls than usual and that's something I don't like.
"We wasted some scoring opportunities, too, but give their keeper credit. She took a few away from us."
For the Bobcats, sophomore Jackie Hinson finished with 21 saves. At the other end, Erin Updegrove, another sophomore, was not really tested, as she had to make just four stops.
The visitors also had an edge in experience, starting four seniors and two juniors, while the lineup for Bel Air (6-3, 3-2) included five sophomores and a freshman.
Kaminski's goal followed a play deep in the right corner, with Hinson moving out to thwart an offensive thrust, then scrambling back to the goal. The shot from 15 yards away on the side found the far corner.
Inside of the last 10 minutes, James got around a defender and beat Hinson with a high, looping shot.
In all likelihood, the county championship will hinge on next Wednesday's game that sends Fallston (3-0 prior to last night's game at North Harford) to C. M. Wright.