Centennial co-coach Kevin Flynn's car may have conked out and left him stranded on the way to the game, but during yesterday's overtime thriller with visiting Wilde Lake his defense suffered no major breakdowns.
As a result, the No. 5 Eagles (9-0 overall, 4-0 county) turned away the challenge of No. 9 Wilde Lake, 1-0.
A picture-perfect pass from Lauren Molinaro set up junior striker Michelle Clare, who booted in the winning goal in the 89th minute.
Molinaro, a sophomore midfielder, launched her pass from the 40-yard line, after Clare had sneaked behind her defender at the 18-yard line.
"It was a very good pass," Clare said. "I took two or three touches and shot it off the outside right foot."
Wilde Lake goalkeeper Tonya Dedmond came out and attempted to snuff the shot.
Instead, the ball found the upper half of the net and a victory celebration ensued for Centennial, which lost to Wilde Lake last season but has beaten the Wildecats three of the last four years.
"I was alone and thought about taking it down the sideline myself, but I heard two people coming after me and I was scared I'd be caught," Molinaro said. "I knew Michelle had the skills to win it."
Clare and Molinaro had the defense to thank for the opportunity to win in overtime.
Senior stopper and co-captain Shara Boonshaft and fullback Tiffany Cronin played outstanding games.
"We haven't played well the past two weeks and it was good to see us play well again," Flynn said. "Amanda Berman [Wilde Lake's leading scorer] had us scared all day."
Regina Diniso marked Berman (10 goals, four assists), who created some dangerous situations in the first half, but was more tightly checked in the second half.
"Amanda was much better than I expected down the line so we had to start double-teaming her," Boonshaft said.
The first half was fast-paced. Each team kicked the ball back and forth and generated scoring opportunities. Centennial outshot Wilde Lake, 12-8, but Wilde Lake's shots were more accurate.
Centennial came closest to scoring in the 10th minute, but Molinaro's shot bounced off the crossbar.
The second half settled into a midfield contest more suited to Centennial's style. "Once we slow the pace we become dominant," Boonshaft said.
Centennial outshot Wilde Lake, 8-1, in the second half and overtime.
Wilde Lake (6-3, 3-1), which now has lost to No. 1 McDonogh, No. 4 Fallston in double overtime, and No. 5 Centennial in overtime, missed center midfielder Lindsay Waxler (flu).
"We had to bring our second-leading scorer [Kristen Riismandel] from forward back to midfield and that took her out of the scoring," Wilson said.