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Crouse leads North Carroll over Owls Senior takes control as Panthers avenge loss


The Westminster Owls were playing their game of ball control yesterday and the visiting North Carroll Panthers were doing their thing with a tight-marking defense and sudden counters on offense.

For more than 70 minutes, the two different styles offset one another.

And then the veteran stepped in.

North Carroll senior Christina Crouse came up from stopper back and one-timed a bouncing ball that was left just outside the 18-yard mark, finding the top left portion and giving the Panthers a 2-1 win.

"We look to Crouse a lot. She's our leader and she's the one who's not afraid to take control. Today, she scores a goal, what more can you ask for?" said North Carroll first-year coach Jim McDonald.

The North Carroll win avenged a 3-2 loss to the Owls earlier in the season, one that saw the Owls jump out to a 3-0 lead before the Panthers battled back.

That wasn't the case yesterday with the Panthers (3-4-1) doing a fine job throughout of marking the Owls' top two offensive threats -- Courtney Beirne and Kate Curtin.

Two sophomores had the task with Emily Gomez sticking on Beirne and Emily Linder staying on Curtin.

"We knew we had to mark them tight and the two sophomores did the job," McDonald said. "With every game, they're gaining more and more confidence."

Both got plenty of help from Crouse, sweeper Jenny Bromwell and keeper Krista Summers, who came up with 10 saves.

The Panthers took a 1-0 lead seven minutes in on a goal from Aubrey Wilfong.

It all started when Stephanie Rogers got free just past midfield along the right side.

She sent a short cross to Danielle Shearer in the middle, who flicked it on to Wilfong, who found the far post from 15 yards out.

The Owls (2-6-2) did a good job of sticking to their short passing game and it paid off late in the half when Lauren Henry scored off a corner kick.

Curtin took the corner with Jennifer Hoff getting her head on it first before Henry finished it to get the Owls even.

Both teams had a number of scoring chances in the second half before Crouse's game-winner.

The Owls did all they could to get even once again with a lot of pressure in the remaining seven minutes.

Westminster first-year coach Ron Patton was pleased with how his Owls responded throughout the game and noted a strong effort from defender Shannon Wynne.

"I'm proud of the way the girls played," said Patton.

"They did everything I wanted them to do. I told them we wanted to play the ball to our feet with short, crisp passes up the field and we did that. You just have to give their defense credit, they did a great job."

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