Fallston junior Eric Croucher understands that his role as a forward for the No. 5 Cougars is to pounce on any opportunity in front of his opponent's goal and then do whatever he can to help the team's stout defense lock down the game.
Yesterday, Croucher answered the call by scoring two goals in the Cougars' 3-0 nonconference victory over No. 14 Eastern Tech.
"I haven't scored in the past few games, so I really wanted to help the team out," said Croucher, who has three goals this season. "Our defense is pretty much the key to our team. They keep us together. My job is to find the net. Most of us have played together on rec and travel [teams], so our goal is to win the state title."
The game featured an intriguing matchup between Eastern Tech's dynamic forward, Tevin Jackson, and Fallston's unflappable sweeper, R.J. Bass. Although Jackson plays as the Mavericks' main target at forward, he moves all over the field.
Jackson created several chances for the Mavericks (2-2), but the Fallston defense was either able to close on him or goalkeeper Franky Alyward (three saves) was able to stop his shots.
Fallston, which starts six underclassmen, finally broke through eight minutes into the second half when Ross Twanmoh did a nice job of settling a loose ball on the end line and then sending a cross to Croucher, who redirected the ball past Eastern Tech goalie Ricky Willis (six saves).
The Cougars (5-2) struck again midway through the second half when Dominic Welsh collected a loose ball just inside the box and fired it into the near corner of the goal. Croucher scored his second goal in the closing minutes when he took a pass from Ryan Strasdauskas at the top of the penalty area off a counterattack and fired the ball into the center of the goal.
No. 1 Calvert Hall 2, St. Paul's 1 -- Jason McFadden scored the game-winner two minutes into overtime as the Cardinals (7-4) beat the visiting Crusaders (0-7).
No. 8 Chesapeake-AA 2, No. 1 Severna Park 1 -- Taylor Petrisko fed Darah Lamarsh, who scored the game-winner with 43 seconds left in overtime as the visiting Cougars (6-1) upset the Falcons (6-1). Julie Gardner gave Severna Park a 1-0 lead off a penalty stroke in the first half. Chesapeake-AA's Emmalea Fraser scored with four minutes left in regulation to force the overtime. "Severna Park outshot us 11-4, but our defense was phenomenal," Chesapeake-AA head coach Melissa Page said.
No. 12 Hereford 0, Dulaney 0 -- The host Lions (3-1-1) and Bulls (3-1-1) played to a stalemate through two overtimes and penalty strokes, a first for Dulaney coach Karen Masoner. Dulaney trailed 2-0 with two penalty strokes left before knotting the score again and forcing the tie. Katie Fitzpatrick made four saves for Hereford, and Jenny Winders had 14 for the Lions.
No. 3 South River 7, Southern 0 -- Kaitlin Maloy scored twice and had an assist as the visiting Seahawks (7-0) shut out the Bulldogs (2-4). Three South River goalies - Virginia Jorden, Megan Garland and Julia Cocchiaro - combined on a two-save shutout. . Southern's Stephanie Harryman had 27 saves.
No. 3 Severna Park 2, Chesapeake-AA 1 -- Melissa Gallagher scored the game-winner from 20 yards out with 2:36 left in the second overtime as the Falcons (6-2) edged the Cougars (5-2-1). Severna Park took a 1-0 lead on Sarah Johnson's goal with 14:40 left in the first half. Chesapeake's Sara Jessilonis tied the game with 28:13 left in the second half to force the overtime.
No. 5 River Hill 4, Hammond 1 -- Erica Suter scored twice to power the visiting Hawks (6-1-1) past the Bears. River Hill outshot Hammond 12-3. Carylynne Hudson made four saves for the Hawks, six fewer than Hammond's Kristine Cochrane.
Wilde Lake d. No. 5 River Hill, 3-2 -- Natasha Jensen and Megan Kelly sparked the Wildcats (3-3) as they upset the Hawks (5-1).