All Glen Burnie girls soccer coach Ron Alberico wanted for his team was a little respect.
After Chesapeake's visit to Pop Wayland Field Friday afternoon, the first-year mentor's request probably was granted.
The host Gophers held the highly touted Cougars scoreless for nearly 50 minutes of their 4A league contest.
But in the blink of an eye, striker Amy Myers redirected a Natalie Buritsch crossing pass into the back of the net to give Chesapeake a hard-fought, 1-0 victory, keeping its unblemished 5-0 mark (all against 4A league opponents) intact.
"They say it's the mark of a good team when you don't play up to potential and still manage to win," said Chesapeake head coach Lin Sullivan. "I guess we proved that we could do that. Glen Burnie came in here with a lot of enthusiasm, and they were up for it. Their defense played really well."
Defense was the name of the game in this physical contest. Glen Burnie (2-3 overall, 0-1 league) constantly double-teamed the vaunted Cougar offense. It often packed as many as nine players into its end of the field, as Chesapeake outshot the hosts by a 20-2 margin. Goalie Kim Myers (11 saves) kept the score close by coming up with numerous acrobatic saves.
"Their keeper (Myers) is just excellent. She definitely kept them in the ballgame. I'd say we had five or six shots that could have very well been goals, but she was there. She's just a great talent," said Sullivan.
"You just can't say enough about Kim," said Alberico. "She had orthoscopic knee surgery back in July, and she's come back even stronger. She's also been playing with an injured back, but you'll never hear her complaining."
During the first half, Chesapeake goalie Cindy Herbert was kept twice as busy than in the second stanza, as she thwarted both of Glen Burnie's best scoring opportunities. With less than seven minutes remaining in the first half, Herbert made a leaping punch save off of a Glen Burnie corner kick. Moments later, she grabbed a 30-yard direct kick from fullback Melissa Schaffer.
"Before the season even started, I knew that our defense would be solid, but I also knew that we'd have some problems scoring-wise," said Alberico. "We have to work harder on moving the ball up the line and switching fields."
In the previous four games, offense was not a main concern for the Cougars, as they had scored 20 goals to their opponents' seven, a statistic that may have spoiled Sullivan's contingent.
"When you're used to scoring five or six times a game, you get used to it. It's been a demanding four games for us, and today, I was hoping for a breather, but they (Glen Burnie) were ready for us," Sullivan said.
"We have to be careful from here on out. When you're winning, it seems like the other teams put their best foot forward, and go all out to beat you. We used to be like that. Now, we're one of the teams being chased."
If the Cougars can escape their next two games (Annapolis and Queen Anne's), they will be on course for a showdown at currently unbeaten Severna Park next Tuesday, a fact that isn't too far away from Sullivan's thoughts.
"We know that we have to play Severna Park, and I've talked to my players about it. But we have two games in between, and we have to concentrate on each game before we play them," said Sullivan.