Seventh-ranked Westminster is not used to playing from behind. But seven minutes into last night's game against visiting Centennial, the Owls trailed by a goal.
"I thought about calling a time out after they scored [6: 12 into the game]," said Westminster co-coach Brenda Baker, "but I'm glad I didn't. We didn't need it."
Said Owls junior forward Lisa Duke: "We knew right away that we had to get it back."
They did, and then some.
Westminster tied the game 2 1/2 minutes after the Centennial goal, then took the lead for good later in the first half on the first of two goals by Duke. The Owls dominated the second half and finished with a hard-fought 3-1 victory over the 14th-ranked Eagles.
"We played a heckuva game," said Baker, whose team plays host to sixth-ranked county-rival North Carroll tonight. "The first half I thought was even. The stick work on both sides was unreal. In the second half, we seemed to be in the game more, and they seemed to tire out."
The Owls (3-0) played without forward Becky Towns, a junior who led the team in scoring with three goals in the first two games. Ron Laczkowski, assistant principal at Westminster, said last night that Towns is no longer on the team because she "violated a county policy."
Towns, who was in the stands at the start of the game, said: "It hurts me as much as it hurts the team and the school."
Centennial (1-1) took its brief lead when Jessica Euler took a crossing pass from Kristin Gaudio and batted a high ball past goalie Emily White.
"It was kind of scary," said Westminster sweeper Stephanie Levin. "But we shook it off pretty fast."
Following Pagulayan's goal, Duke scored off an assist from Sarah Palaia to make it 2-1 with 10: 35 left. Westminster outshot Centennial, 11-8, in the first half.
The Owls controlled the second half, and Duke scored 3: 14 into the period.
"It came down to who wanted it more and who played the hardest," Duke said. "We played really scrappy and worked together as a team."
Said Centennial's Gaudio: "We were aggressive, we tried hard, but they're just a good team. They have real good ball control and they know how to place it."
Centennial coach Gail Purcell was very pleased with her team, which starts three sophomores and a goalie (Jodie Godbout, 16 saves) who never has played the sport before.
"That's the best game Centennial has played in many years," said Purcell, whose team won the Class 3A state title last year. "The pace, the tempo -- it was at a fever pitch. Westminster was aggressive and moved the ball well."
Pub Date: 9/25/96