For South Carroll's Mike Lippy, it was a moment of triumph. For teammate Ryan Webb, it was one of relief.
After Webb, a goalie, had allowed host Century to take the lead last night on a direct kick that uncharacteristically rolled between his legs, the Cavaliers' offense made it a moot point by scoring twice in the final 6:48, including Lippy's game-winner with 2:19 left, in a 2-1 boys soccer win over the previously unbeaten Knights.
"We knew that if we didn't do something, or our goalkeeper was going to hate himself for the rest of the year," said South Carroll coach Wes Haroldson, who used frequent substitutions in an effort to wear down the Knights. "We were just hoping attrition would kick in and we would get them through the subs, and that's luckily how it happened. Otherwise, we never would've had a chance."
South Carroll (2-1-1 overall, 1-0 Central Maryland Conference, 1-0-1 county) outshot Century 10-2 after halftime, consistently peppering the goal with shots over the final 25 minutes. It was a complete departure from the back-and-forth action of the first half.
"We really didn't make any changes," Lippy said. "We just played our hearts out all the time, and it just happened."
Century (3-1, 0-1, 0-1) had taken a 1-0 lead with 20:20 left in the first half when, on a direct kick from 15-yards in front, sophomore Steve Romeo fired a low shot that Webb simply misplayed.
"It seemed like a simple play to me ... but I made a mental mistake and took my eye off the ball," said Webb, one of the area's better keepers who had allowed only four goals in three games.
Late in the game, however, his teammates atoned.
After coming close on several scoring tries, the Cavaliers tied it with just under seven minutes left when Jonnie Jenkins headed in an immaculate somersault throw-in from teammate Erik Vollmerhausen.
Then, with 2:19 left in regulation, South Carroll took the lead for good when, following a corner kick, Justin McMahon got the ball to Lippy about 10 yards out, and the junior beat goalie Chris Jones to his left.
"I just saw it coming across the middle and I was just kind of there," Lippy said.
The loss was the first for Century on the varsity level. Last year, the Knights played JV exclusively.
"I think we didn't play up to our potential like we normally do," said Century coach Mike March, adding that losing can sometimes be of assistance to a young team. "Sometimes you start to get a lot of wins under your belt and I think you need to refocus on what you've got."