Oakland Mills coach Steve Matters found out about 40 minutes before game time yesterday that McDonogh All-American Laurie Schwoy, out for the past week with a cartilage tear in her right knee, was ready to return to the lineup.
It didn't take the 1994 All-Metro Player of the Year long to prove it.
Schwoy scored twice in the first 23:20 -- both times using her right leg -- as the host and fourth-ranked Eagles took an early lead before struggling to hold off the 12th-ranked Scorpions, 2-1.
It was the first time Schwoy had played since suffering the injury in a game against St. Mary's last Tuesday.
"I don't know if [Schwoy] was 75 percent or not, but to me she was as good as she's ever been," said Matters.
Compounding her return for Oakland Mills (0-2-2) was the fact that back Leslie Miller -- who drew the assignment of guarding the striker -- was weakened with the flu and had to come out of the game in the first half.
Schwoy gave McDonogh (5-2-1) a 1-0 lead 14:45 into the game, taking a pass on the right side, spinning around two defenders and beating goalie Nyiesha Ford to her right.
Midway through the half, Schwoy struck again, sending a free kick 40 yards on a line, off Ford's hand, off the bottom of the crossbar and into the goal.
"We played great in the first half," said Schwoy. "It was probably the best half we've had all year. We really all thought we could beat this team four or five to nothing, but I guess two halves make a game."
After getting outshot, 14-2, in the first half, the Scorpions played much more competitively after the break.
Their aggressive play resulted in several scoring chances, and with 15 minutes left they got a goal by Brie Warner.
"We stepped in front of a few more balls, we were a little bit more aggressive and we had chances," said Matters, who hopes that playing the two-time defending Catholic League champions will help his team when it starts its Howard County schedule.
"We're going into a county where even the easy teams are tough. We need these kinds of games to get ready for our season."