Century was curious about meeting Seton Keough yesterday in the McDonogh Tournament. The Knights, who have been routing most of their opponents since beginning varsity play last year, jumped to a 4-0 start this spring and wanted to see how they'd fare against a tough opponent.
That's why there weren't too many long faces on the Knights' bench after No. 13 Seton Keough rallied to pull out a 9-8 victory over No. 9 Century. The Knights gave Seton Keough all it could handle at both ends of the field.
"I think that they're a great team," said Seton Keough coach Tierney Ahearn.
Ahearn was so impressed that she talked to Century coach Rose Pentz after the game about having the two teams meet again next year.
"I wanted an opponent outside of our schedule ... so we could play some competitive games," Pentz said. "This was a learning experience for us, and they were a great opponent to play."
The Knights' high-scoring trio of Kelly Kasper, Lauren Schwarzmann and Megan McGuire combined to score 211 goals last year as Century won the county and Central Maryland Conference titles, and advanced to the Class 2A-1A state final in its first season of play.
Kasper (two goals, one assist), Schwarzmann (one goal, three assists) and McGuire (two goals, one assist) used their speed to again create scoring chances - but the Gators slowed them throughout. Century (5-1) didn't find as many good shots as usual.
The Knights took a 4-2 lead early, but Kerry Shea (three goals) helped the Gators score six of the next eight goals for an 8-6 lead with 17:43 left in the second half. Century goalie Ashley Benitez (eight saves) made five stops in the second half and kept Seton Keough (6-2-1) from breaking the game open.
Kasper then scored 64 seconds later, and Alicia Burkhardt tied it on a fast break with 7:30 remaining. But Seton Keough's second-half strategy of slowing the game down and running a more settled offense had already started paying off.
The Gators held the ball for minutes at a time, and they had little trouble running off most of the final 5:23 after Megan Carver scored the game-winning goal.
"I think we did really well in the first half," Schwarzmann said. "I think we just lost our momentum in the second half."
The Knights weren't that upset about losing because they stayed right with the Gators from the start.
"I think this helps a lot," Kasper said. "We don't play as many teams at that level, and playing a good team like that and hanging with them is good."
Said McGuire: "I think we surprised them. I definitely thought we were going to [win] it."
This was a round-robin tournament where the two public school teams, Century and South Carroll, each played the private school teams, McDonogh and Seton Keough. Century bounced back to beat McDonogh, 12-7, in the second game.
Seton Keough was the only team to finish 2-0 in this tournament, rolling to a 12-3 victory over South Carroll in its second game. South Carroll had beaten McDonogh, 11-5, in its first game.
Kerrie Wuenschel scored a game-high four goals to lead the Cavaliers to the win over McDonogh in their first game.