Motivated Centennial gets past Atholton, 1-0, behind Altscher


Maybe it was the pasta party Monday night at Emily Rothschild's house.

Or maybe it was Eagles coach Gail Purcell's pep talk in her office, where she held up a season preview story quoting the Atholton coach saying her team could beat Centennial. "Ladies," Purcell said, "we want this team."

Or could it have been the music Atholton's players were playing before the game that riled up some of the Eagles' players?

Whatever the reason, Centennial came out strong yesterday against visiting Atholton. Very strong. The result?

Thirty seconds into the game, Centennial's Allison Altscher scored. It was the only goal. Centennial 1, Atholton 0.

"We usually have a problem coming out strong but against this team, we really wanted it," said Altscher, a senior forward. "We came out so strong, so focused at the beginning."

Centennial (4-3-1, 2-0), which defeated Glenelg, 3-1, Monday, took possession to start the game and never lost control before Altscher took Kristin Gaudio's pass and put it past goalie Sarah Geatz.

"I was talking to one of our defenders and she said it was like a wall of white [Centennial's jersey color] rushing in," said Atholton forward Shannon Carter. "It was very confusing. We weren't organized and it just caught us off guard."

"They outnumbered us five or six to two," said Atholton coach Carol Stevens of Centennial's opening-game rush to the goal.

"I'm disappointed for my team," added Stevens, whose team is 4-2 overall and 1-1 in the league. "They wanted this a lot. But they didn't do what they needed to do for this game. They needed an intense warm-up because this was an intense game. Their warm-up was terrible.

"We weren't focused at the beginning. We weren't physically ready to play. But after the first eight minutes, I don't think there was a better team out there."

Purcell said her team played very well for the first 20 minutes than lost some of its intensity. Still, she said, "I feel we outplayed them the whole game."

Centennial outshot Atholton, 18-7. Geatz had 16 saves.

"I think we played well considering we played yesterday [Monday]," said Centennial midfielder Liz Sturm, who had an outstanding game. "We can still play better, but we're definitely coming together after a rocky start."

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