With her team mired in a 6-6 tie against host South Carroll nearing halftime of last night's Class 3A-4A West playoff opener, Westminster coach Suzanne Peters called timeout to give her team a badly-needed piece of advice.
Patience is a virtue.
"We were trying to throw 50-yard passes instead of 15- or 20-yard connecting passes," said Peters. "We just had to get back into our passing game, and so at halftime I gave it to them."
The Owls apparently took her words to heart, scoring 14 of the final 18 goals in a 20-10 victory.
Westminster (7-6), which had just a single victory two years ago, advances to the second round, where it will play host to Quince Orchard of Montgomery County tomorrow. The Cougars, in their first year of varsity competition, drew a first-round bye.
To get there, however, the Owls first had to overcome the upset-minded Cavaliers.
Despite losing to Westminster twice during the regular season by a combined 15 goals, South Carroll (4-9) played right with their opponents for much of the first half, pulling even 5: 20 before the break after consecutive goals by Lyndsay Pyles and another by Jaime Yokay.
That's when Peters called timeout to regroup her troops.
Said midfielder Bridget Geiman: "She said that we really just needed to work together as a team, clean up our passes and keep our heads in the game and not beat ourselves."
Geiman helped make certain the Owls did just that, scoring three of her game-high five goals during a 6-0 spurt that broke the game open.
Westminster did the bulk of its damage by winning draws, racing down field and beating South Carroll defenders with sharp cuts on the soggy field.
"I think if you had possession of the draws, you were going to score, most likely," said South Carroll coach Stacy Stem.
"I mean it was wet and the footing made it kind of tough to keep your balance. So I think draw control -- that's where it started."
Amy Bittinger and Kelly Berkle also had four goals each for the Owls, while Meghan Smith, Sarah Brumfitt and Dena Mielke each scored a pair.
Yokay led the Cavaliers with four goals, bringing her season total to 53.
Peters said her team's improved passing in the second half was something to be proud of.
"We showed some good patience in the second half," she said. "When we got it down there they weren't forcing it. We were taking our time, waiting for the opportunity to get it in the goal."