Liberty coach Courtney Vaughn said she would love to replay the first eight minutes of last night's game at Westminster.
The reason is No. 3 Westminster got goals from Jen Medura and Megan Magee during that stretch, and the Owls hung on to clinch the county and Central Maryland Conference titles with a 2-1 victory over No. 8 Liberty.
Westminster (11-0, 5-0 in county, 6-0 in CMC) pressured Liberty (7-2, 3-2, 4-1) early, hoping to avoid replays of recent games where it missed several scoring chances in the opening minutes.
"[Scoring early] gets you motivated so much," said Medura. "We were looking to score early."
And so the Owls did, starting with Medura. The senior, who leads the team with 10 goals and three assists, scored on a rebound 5:13 into the game.
Magee stretched the lead to 2-0 just 1:58 later. When she got inside the circle, she maneuvered through the Liberty defense and beat goalie Heather Carter (nine saves) with a hard shot.
Westminster dominated play in the first half, outshooting Liberty by 9-0 and manufacturing several scoring chances.
"I think in the first half, they were definitely on," said Brenda Baker, who coaches Westminster with Sue Hooper. "The passing was good."
But Liberty began to turn things around in the second half. Vaughn made a defensive switch that allowed the Lions to play more aggressive defensively and helped them keep the ball out of their circle.
The Lions began to push the ball more toward midfield and repeatedly stopped Westminster there. But the Owls still won most of the loose balls and often kept the ball in the Liberty end.
Carter was forced to make several tough saves, and Jessica Horneman, Meghan Fisher and Ashley Meehan all played well on defense, holding Westminster without a shot for a long stretch in the half.
The Lions, outshot 14-3 overall, rarely found offensive chances. But Danielle Gray got one and sliced the lead to 2-1 on a hard shot from just inside the circle with 12:33 left in the game.
The final 12 minutes saw Westminster look much like it did in the opening minutes -- with several corner hits and all five of its shots in the half.