The North County varsity girls soccer squad sent a warning to the rest of the county's 4A competitors yesterday afternoon with a resounding 6-1 thrashing of Meade.
Senior strikers Kathy Glodek and Angela Farace split the offensive load by scoring three goals apiece, as the Knights (3-0 overall, 1-0 league) reeled off their third consecutive victory.
"I'm surprised at how fortunate we were," said North County head coach Marianne Shultz.
"I know how dangerous Meade is, especially after they came from behind against South River last week (the Mustangs defeated the Seahawks last Friday 4-3, overcoming a 3-1 deficit in the second half). I didn't want Amanda (Simmons) to get going. I was extremely worried about her."
The Knights put Shultz's worst fears to rest early during the first half, as they roared out to a 4-0 lead.
Glodek drew first blood 12 minutes into the game by sticking in a loose ball in front of the goal. Eleven minutes later, Farace took advantage of a rebounding shot from teammate Jennifer Rurka to put North County up by two.
At the 32:00 mark, Farace scored what may have been the game's prettiest goal. As she received a pass from Glodek with her back to the goal, she turned on Meade defender Rebecca Berwanger and drilled a left-footed shot past goalkeeper Kelly Dryden.
Four minutes before the end of the half, Glodek converted on another loose ball in front of the net, once again placing it by a frustrated Dryden.
During the Mustangs' disastrous first half, the fullbacks constantly were beaten by the speedier North County offense. Their situation was worsened by their constant inability to clear the ball out of the defensive zone.
"They beat us fair and square," said Mustang head coach John O'Neill. "They outran us. They out-hustled us. They beat us to every loose ball. There was absolutely no excuse."
With a healthy lead in hand, Shultz was determined not to let Meade (2-2 overall, 0-2 league) off the hook. As the first five minutes of the second half elapsed, she constantly warned her team not to slack off.
"During our first couple of games, we would play great for one half, then not so good for a spell. But today, the girls put together a full game. Our short passing game is improving, and I think we're starting to gel as a team," said Shultz.
After Meade threatened on several occasions, the Knights' midfield began to take control, led by juniors Martha Hill and Tonya Kolodziejski. "Martha and Tonya were the keys to our offense. They did a great job of triggering our breakaways," said Shultz.
The Mustangs finally broke into the scoring column with under 19 minutes remaining, as Kelly Dryden left her goalkeeping post to move up to striker. The versatile senior, who recorded seven saves, nailed a shot past Lisa Garrison (two saves). Glodek added a breakaway goal at the game's 71:00 mark to close the scoring.
"This was a good win for us, because from here on in, I don't think there will be any easy games for us. We're coming together at the right time," said Shultz.
"Coach Shultz has put together a very nice team. She deserves an awful lot of credit," said O'Neill.