The Maryvale girls soccer team made North Carroll earn its win.
The No. 12 Panthers withstood a furious second-half rally by the host Lions to escape with a 3-2 season-opening victory yesterday.
"I thought we played really well in the first half, but we got the first-game jitters in the second half," said North Carroll coach Jim MacDonald. "The other team got the momentum, and they have some nice players on that side."
Panthers senior defender Amy Bromwell, who had two assists, conceded that Maryvale (0-1) played with more emotion in the second half.
"They came out with a little more intensity," she said. "They came out and wanted to get it back."
North Carroll, which finished last season one game away from the state Class 3A semifinal, overpowered the Lions with three goals in the opening half.
In the fifth minute, Bromwell lofted a ball over Maryvale's defense to senior forward Lacy Hentz, who buried the ball in the lower left corner for a 1-0 lead.
Thirteen minutes later, Bromwell sent a ball in from the left side of the field. The ball sailed over several players in front of Lions junior goalkeeper Megan Huether (four saves) and landed on the left foot of North Carroll sophomore defender Heather Tomko, who calmly booted it in for the second goal.
Finally, with 47 seconds left in the half, senior midfielder Erin Lamotte sent a floater from about 25 yards over Huether's outstretched hand and under the crossbar to make it 3-0.
But the second half marked the beginning of Maryvale's comeback. With about 10 minutes gone, sophomore forward Katie Sullivan pounced on a North Carroll turnover in its defensive box and beat freshman goalie Jenna Trumpower (four saves).
Then with about 13 minutes left to play, senior forward and All-Met player Stephanie Sybert converted a pass from junior forward Casey Hazel to make it a one-goal game.
The Lions tried mightily to score, but the Panthers thwarted every maneuver.
"We were worried there for a second," said North Carroll defender Jen Lee. "We just had to keep playing hard, and we pulled through."
Rookie coach Reza Kaliush said he was proud of how his Lions challenged the Panthers.
"I think in the first half, we were intimidated," he said. "We came back in the second half a lot stronger. ... We got our aggressiveness back."