The Bel Air girls soccer team came at C. Milton Wright's defense with persistent pressure that came from everywhere in the first half.
Freshman forward Alexcia Kraemer made sure the hard work paid dividends for the No. 5 Bobcats as she scored two goals before halftime to send Bel Air to a 3-0 home win over the No. 8 Mustangs.
"Very early on, we had to adjust to the wet field," Bel Air coach Josh Clemmer said. "We kind of mishit a couple balls and that was almost a wake-up call for us. … As soon as they figured out to strike the ball solid and play the skip on the field, they pressured up."
The win helped the Bobcats move a big step closer to clinching the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference's Chesapeake division. The UCBAC no longer plays a championship game between the Chesapeake and Susquehanna divisions, instead rewarding regular-season titles to each winner.
Bel Air improved to 11-1 on the season, including a 5-0 record in the division. The Bobcats will close out their division schedule at Fallston (3-1 in the division going into Monday's game at North Harford) on Wednesday with a chance to seal the division. After starting the season with an 11-0-1 record, the Mustangs have lost two straight games to fall to 11-2-1 and 5-1 in division play.
The Bobcats possessed the ball in the pivotal first half and sent balls to the Mustangs' penalty area from the middle, left and right sides. With 13:35 to play before halftime, Kraemer one-timed a through ball sent in from senior midfielder Shannon Williams to score from 8 yards away for a 1-0 advantage.
With 1:56 to play in the half, Kraemer pounced on a loose ball in front to make it 2-0.
The Mustangs moved forward in the second half to try to answer, but the Bobcats' defense stayed organized, and then Bel Air sophomore defender Gabi Hall closed out the scoring with 9:13 to play. Bel Air junior Andrea Sipos made a diving save with four minutes left in regulation to secure the Bobcats' fifth shutout this season.
5 Bel Air 3, 8 C. Milton Wright 0
Goals: BA – Kraemer 2, Hall
Assists: BA -- Williams
Saves: CMW – Venanzi 4, Knoebel 1; BA -- Sipos 5
Half: BA, 2-0