Fallston had two major problems in Tuesday night's game at C. Milton Wright: The Cougars couldn't get possession or stop Liz Johnson.
Johnson finished with five goals and one assist, and helped No. 13 C.M. Wright control the ball for long stretches as the Mustangs rolled to a surprisingly easy 13-9 victory over No. 9 Fallston in an Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference game.
The Johns Hopkins-bound senior played a big role in helping C.M. Wright (9-1, 5-0) execute its game plan. The Mustangs knew Fallston (5-2, 2-1) loves to run, so they wanted to slow the game down.
That's why C.M. Wright would hold on to the ball for long periods of time. The Mustangs stayed patient as Fallston often did a good job defensively, but C.M. Wright eventually found good shots, usually getting Johnson or others to make quick cuts or moves to the goal.
"We wanted to take up as much time as possible," Johnson said. "If they don't have it, they can't score."
C.M. Wright coach Brent Ritz was pleased with how his team won most of the ground balls and draws and simply out-worked the Cougars throughout.
The Mustangs did everything possible to get the ball and keep it away from Fallston, and the strategy paid off.
"We wanted to get down there and set the tone," Ritz said. "We wanted to be in control … [and] we took them out of their game."
In fact, Fallston never had the lead. Johnson scored two of her goals early as C.M. Wright took a 4-1 lead with just over five minutes left in the first half. The Cougars cut it to 4-3, but the Mustangs got three of the final four goals of the half for a 7-4 lead at the break.
After Jenna Mosketti (four goals) cut the lead to 9-6 in the second half, the Mustangs took over. Johnson scored on a low shot 43seconds later, and Kaitlan Moynihan (two goals, two assists) added a goal on a Gary Gait-type behind-the-back shot 46 seconds after that. Johnson then got her fifth goal for a 12-6 lead with 12:37 left.
Fallston couldn't rally because the Mustangs, with a lot of help from Johnson, kept winning the draws and getting the ball and forcing the visitors to play defense. Megan Will helped with three goals.
"The key was possession," Fallston coach Mike McTeague said. "They completely outplayed us in the midfield, and they possessed the ball."
Goals: F--Mosketti 4, Ward 2, Clough, Wilson, Nolan; C--Johnson 5, Will 3, Smucker 2, Moynihan 2, Piazza.
Assists: F--Wilson 2, Christ, Summers; C--Moynihan 2, Hunter, Johnson.
Saves: F--Deckert 3, Herbert 1; C--Muscella 7.
Half: C, 7-4.