Centennial's girls soccer team has had problems this season putting the ball in the net.
But yesterday, Michelle Clare scored the first of her two goals six minutes into the game and the 10th-ranked Eagles defeated previously unbeaten Howard, 2-0, at Centennial.
The defending state 3A-4A champions still aren't a .500 team (2-3-1 overall, 1-0-1 league), but they clearly controlled the game against the Lions (5-1, 1-1).
"We just got outplayed," said Howard coach Dave Vezzi. "They beat us to a lot of balls and their passing game was better than ours.
"On a different day, I think my team is capable of making it a different game. But today, they were the better team."
Said Howard sweeper Alyssa Gamaldo: "I'm a little disappointed. I think we have the potential to match up with them, but we didn't play up to our potential today. I don't think all of our heads were in the game."
The Eagles had a few other scoring opportunities in the first half, but could not connect.
Their best chance came when Clare made a nice crossing pass that sophomore Kristen Dinisio chipped over the net.
Centennial made it 2-0 less than two minutes into the second half.
Midfielder Lauren Molinaro's arching shot to the far post was initially caught by Howard goalie Elissa Shefrin. But Shefrin dropped the ball and lost control and Clare was there for the goal.
Howard's best scoring chance came a couple of minutes later when Eagles goalie Rima Sidhu came out of the box and lost control of the ball. However, the Lions could only get off a weak shot that was kicked away.
"We played better today," said Clare, a senior forward.
"We played quicker and passed the ball around more. We were more of a team than individuals."
Still, co-coaches Dave Greenberg and Kevin Flynn, while pleased with the win, said the Eagles have plenty of room for improvement.
"We got the result we wanted, but I think we played better [last week] against Atholton [a scoreless tie]," Flynn said.
"I think we played fair, not great," said Greenberg. "We did some good things."
Perhaps the best thing the Eagles did was win.
This is, after all, a team that went 18-0 last year and expected a far better start than it has produced.
"I think it was crucial that we won this game," Greenberg said.
"Hopefully, we can build off this and take some positive steps."
* Wilde Lake 1, Oakland Mills 0: Becky Froman scored 25 minutes into the second half, as Wilde Lake (5-2) upset No. 12 Oakland Mills.
* McDonogh 2, John Carroll 0: Bob Landolt had a goal and an assist, leading visiting and No. 6 McDonogh (7-2) past John Carroll.
* Calvert Hall 1, Mount St. Joseph 0: Andy Lessner scored the game-winner at the 20th minute of the first to lift visiting No. 7 Calvert Hall (6-3-1) over Mount St. Joseph (2-5).
* Hammond 3, Glenelg 2 OT: Three players scored to help lead visiting No. 9 Hammond to an overtime win over Glenelg (3-3). Reginald Brown scored two goals for Glenelg.
* Mount Hebron 3, Atholton 2: Junior sweeper Mike Stromberg scored two goals and teammate Robbie Graham added a goal and an assist as No. 14 Mount Hebron (4-2-1, 2-0) defeated visiting Atholton (2-3, 0-2) in a Howard County league game.