Statistics don't paint a true picture of last night's Westminster-North Carroll matchup.
Fourth-ranked Westminster dominated in shots (20-2) and corner hits (19-1), but the visiting Owls broke through No. 6 North Carroll's defense only when Becky Towns scored with 13:57 left in the first half for a 1-0 victory.
Westminster (6-0, 3-0) kept pressure on North Carroll (4-1, 3-1) throughout the game. But whenever the Owls got inside the circle, the Panthers stiffened.
"We had lots of chances; we had good shots," said Brenda Baker, who coaches Westminster with Sue Hooper. "But they were tough inside the circle."
North Carroll coach Denean Koontz credited goalie Becky Bosley (12 saves) plus Jackie Chase, Kristen Dowlin, Diana Vaughan and Tara Walker with anchoring the defense.
The Panthers did a good job of limiting Westminster's clear shots. North Carroll often got a stick in front of the Owls' shots or Bosley would kick them away.
The one time Bosley could not stop the Owls came midway through the first half. On another Westminster surge, Ann Brennan centered the ball to Jen Medura. Bosley stopped Medura's shot, but Towns flipped the rebound over the prone goalie.
"I just scooped it right over her leg," said Towns. "It was a flick, a little scoop [as] she was laying right out."
Westminster outshot North Carroll, 13-0, in the first half. The Owls kept the ball in North Carroll territory even more in the second half, but came up with few good chances.
Towns had the two best scoring opportunities. With about 19 minutes remaining, she broke through the defense, but Bosley stopped her soft shot.
Towns nearly scored on a follow-up about nine minutes later. She tried to put a shot inside the right post, but Bosley just beat the ball there and blocked it. North Carroll got its only shots in the final minute, but Westminster hung on.
Baker said she wanted a close game for her team, which has spent the early part of the season rolling over its opponents.
"We did everything we wanted to do, and they stopped us," said Baker. "We got in the circle, and they held us."
Koontz said that, while she does not enjoy losses, she has no problems with her team's effort.
"I am not disappointed in the least," said Koontz. "I can't ask any more of these kids than they gave tonight. But you're not going to win if you don't get any shots."