Century's boys soccer team may be young, but it's old in experience.
"About 95 percent of our team plays club ball, and some of the guys have played soccer for me since the first grade," said Knights coach Mike March.
That experience showed yesterday at Long Reach in Columbia, where the Knights used superior skill to defeat the Lightning, 3-1.
This is Century's first varsity season in boys soccer and the Knights (2-0) from Carroll County have no seniors, but the Knights didn't seem intimidated by the bigger, faster and older Lightning.
Kyle Dietz, the leading scorer (15 goals) on a 12-1 JV team last season, is one of the few Knights not on a club team. But he showed his game smarts, elusiveness and speed by scoring twice. He had a hat trick in Century's season-opening win against St. John's at Prospect Hall.
His first goal yesterday was at 10 minutes. He took a through ball from attacking midfielder Steve Romeo and easily beat Long Reach goalkeeper Alexei Safronov, who stayed back instead of coming out.
Dietz made it 2-0 in the 20th minute with a shot from inside the 18-yard box.
"My first goal was a great ball from Romeo," Dietz said. "I don't think we played as well as we should, especially in the second half, when we came out flat."
Long Reach (1-3) closed the score to 2-1 at halftime with a little help from a Century player who headed a free kick by the Lightning back toward the goal and Jeronimo Cortez kicked it in.
Cortez, from Mexico, displayed a lot of skill and speed at forward.
"We played very well but did not complete our goals," he said.
Teammate Agyemang Boateng, another skilled Lightning player, was not as generous in his assessment of Long Reach's play: "Our defense made mistakes and didn't talk," he said. "We didn't play as a team. It was better in the second half."
Century, which outshot Long Reach 18-10, finished off the scoring in the 67th minute on a shot by Bobby Lyons. He chipped it over a late-charging Long Reach keeper after a free kick.
Liberty 3, Francis Scott Key 1: Brothers Keith and Sean Locklear had a goal apiece, and Brian Silva scored on a penalty kick for the host Lions (2-1, 1-0 Carroll County), who rebounded to beat the Eagles (2-1, 0-1).
Liberty wanted to give a great effort against Key after Tuesday's 5-0 loss against No. 1 River Hill. "We were pumped up, and we didn't want to start the county season with a loss," Keith Locklear said.
Silva scored on a penalty kick almost 16 minutes in. Nick Denny was taken down in the box, and Silva drilled a shot just inside the left post.
The Eagles got their only goal 74 seconds later. They got a penalty shot of their own when Liberty goalie Matt Jolly was whistled for pushing in the box. Brad Thompson scored on a low shot.