The 1993 regular season has been one big test of will for the South Carroll girls soccer team.
They passed it with flying colors, capped by the clinching of a second straight Carroll County crown last night with a overwhelming 5-1 win at Westminster.
The Cavaliers were plagued by injuries long before the season started and the string continued as the season has progressed.
Last night, it was goalie Kendra Pulis who had to leave the game late in the first half with a recurring shoulder injury.
The Cavaliers had built a 2-0 lead on the Owls with goals from Lindsey Vosloh and Amber Clutter. Instead of sitting on the lead, they got two more before the half to take a commanding 4-0 lead with backup goalie Erin Nauyalis inserted in the lineup.
As has been the case all season, Clutter was the big difference. The junior striker, who leads the county with 16 goals and eight assists, got things started 15 minutes into the contest by beating a Westminster defender down the right side and sending a perfect cross to a streaking Vosloh, who headed it by Westminster goalie Julie Backof.
"She controlled the game everywhere," said South Carroll coach Jim Horn.
"I've been telling everyone the past two years that she is the best player in the county and she really showed it tonight. She came up with a big performance."
Ten minutes later, Clutter collected a short pass from Danielle Picker and sent a rocket to the left of a diving Backof.
Pulis left with just under 10 minutes left in the half, and Nauyalis came up with a save on a point-blank shot from Mandy Hunt that could have gotten the Owls back in the game.
The Cavaliers' offense responded with two goals late in the second half to put the game out of reach.
Vosloh scored her second goal of the game and Clutter found the net again, one-timing a ball from Erin O'Neill to make it 4-0.
"That was a big difference going into the half at 4-0 instead of 2-0 with Kendra down. Our offense really stepped up," Horn said.
"A lot of different people stepped up and did the job for us. Erin did a great job replacing Kendra and Allison Cavey came up from junior varsity and filled in for Anne Schaeffer, who's injured."
Last night's loss shouldn't tarnish a solid season for the Owls and first-year coach Terry Molloy. Few expected them to be in the county race this late in the season.
"I'm happy finishing 6-6 with what we lost to graduation and some others who weren't on the team," Molloy said.
"We never gave up and had our chances in the second half. We surprised some people and lost to a few we maybe shouldn't. Overall, it was a great season and we'll be back."