Nobody has to remind North Carroll coach Jim McDonald just how difficult finishing off a scoring play in soccer can be.
After losing his top two scorers from a year ago, the Panthers coach has tried a number of lineup shifts in an attempt to add some badly-needed punch to his offense.
Last night in Hampstead, in a game in which South Carroll continually jabbed and sparred away, it was host North Carroll that eventually delivered the knockout blow.
Trailing by a goal, the Panthers got consecutive scores by Maria Humphries and Jayme Tunney in the final 45 minutes en route to a 2-1 win.
"It's a difficult thing to [score] under pressure, and we were able to do it twice," said McDonald. "We just talked about trying to possess the ball and move it down the field, and get some quality shots off.
"We have a person who can throw the ball really well to the goal, and we needed to start converting more of those plays."
The Panthers (2-3-1 overall, 1-1 county) did just that, scoring off a pair of throw-ins by junior Amy Bromwell to offset a first-half solo effort by South Carroll's Kylie Skinner.
The first of Bromwell's throws came with time winding down in the first half.
She sent a throw-in to Lacey Hentz, who crossed it to the middle. South Carroll goalkeeper Jen Conaway came out for the ball, but Humphries beat her to it and scored to tie the game at 1.
"Heather Tomko saw me coming, and she got out of the way," said Humphries. "Then I just shot it into the far corner."
The Panthers took the lead for good with about 25 minutes left on another throw-in by Bromwell.
This one landed in a crowd in front of the goal. After a South Carroll defender tapped it out, Tunney got a foot on it, beating the goalkeeper to her left.
From there, a combination of the Panthers' defense and the Cavaliers' inability to finish sealed the outcome.
"Our defense has stepped up really well," said Tunney. "We've been saving a lot of goals, and I think tonight we prevented them from scoring a few times."
For South Carroll (2-2-1, 0-2), however, coming up empty around the goal has been a recurring theme this season.
Aside from last weekend's Raider Classic, coach Jim Horn's team has averaged less than a goal a game.
"We had every chance to win this game," said Horn. "We struggled to put the ball in the net again. We're just not having anybody put the ball in the net.
"We've got opportunities, but we're not putting it in."
Pub Date: 9/24/99