C. Milton Wright, the defending Harford County champion, ensured itself of no worse than a tie for this year's title when it used a stout defense, keyed by goalkeeper Kim Kalista, to thwart visiting Fallston, 5-3, last night.
The result pushed Wright to 5-0 in the county, 7-3 overall, with two games left. It plays a non-league game Monday at Oakland Mills and concludes its regular season with a county game Tuesday night at North Harford. This was the last regular-season game for Fallston (9-1, 5-1).
A week ago, C. Milton Wright had played Fallston tough for the first 35 minutes, leading 10-6 at that point in a non-league meeting. The Cougars answered that challenge with runs of six straight goals and five straight goals in posting a 17-13 victory. Last night, the visitors had no such response.
Give Wright coach Kathy Breymaier credit for that. There was a huge dose of physical and mental preparation for the rematch.
"We did a lot of homework for this one," she said. "We talked about the mental and emotional aspects of the game. And there were two hours of classroom talk about what it means to reach down and pull out your best effort.
"Last week, we saw some Fallston strengths, and we made some changes in our field strategy. And our defense was just great."
It certainly was.
The chief defender was Kalista, a junior and three-year starter, who finished with 15 saves. Included in this collection were eight stops on free-position shots. She was joined by field players Jackie Bangert, Amy Hypes and Caroline Barthel.
Barthel turned out to be the key in the matchup.
"Last week, they scored a lot of goals off our double-teams where they hit the open man," Bangert said. "This time, Caroline dropped back to be an extra defender, and it made a big difference."
Becky Gerhart scored the first two goals for the Mustangs, and Jen Kuehn assisted on the second and scored the third for a 3-1 halftime lead. Kristen Shrader and Amanda Moculski boosted the lead to 5-1 with 17 minutes left in the game.
Kathleen Turk and Krissy Battenfeld got the Fallston goals, with Julie Haire assisting on each. Jessie Russo and Jill Franz combined for nine saves.