North Carroll strikes fast, leaves Liberty behind, 3-1

Girls soccer

October 09, 2002|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

North Carroll started fast last night against a Liberty team that came out flat. That slow start put the Lions in a hole they couldn't climb out of.

Heather Tomko had a goal and an assist and North Carroll also got goals from Kara Meekins and Jen Sunday as the Panthers took advantage of two first-half scores in notching a 3-1 victory over visiting Liberty in a Carroll County game.

North Carroll (4-2-2, 2-1 county, 3-1 Central Maryland Conference) was looking to rebound from its shutout by Westminster last week and hoping to keep its county title hopes alive.

Meekins got the first goal with 22 minutes, 30 seconds left in the first half, and Sunday made it 2-0 with about 11 minutes to go before halftime.

"After the loss to Westminster, we knew we needed to win against Liberty and Century to win the county title," Meekins said. "The [early goals] gave us momentum."

The Panthers recently have started using a new 4-4-2 formation that helped shut down the speedy Liberty forwards. Kim Fioriani made a number of long runs down the left wing, but North Carroll sealed off the middle and the Lions had problems making crosses over the Panthers' defense.

Bekie Finch anchored the North Carroll defense and made a number of solid plays, especially when Liberty (2-4-3, 1-2, 1-3) stepped up the pressure in the second half.

North Carroll goalie Jenna Trumpower also helped, finishing with 13 saves.

"We've been pretty solid defensively all year," North Carroll coach Jim MacDonald said. "We're just fine-tuning our [formations] and hopefully we'll get it right by the playoffs."

Meekins got it right early by redirecting a Tomko cross past Liberty goalie Becky Webster for the 1-0 lead.

Sunday made it 2-0 after Webster was called for touching the ball outside the box. Carly Rihard sent the ball to Sunday on the indirect, and she put a 20-yarder just under the crossbar.

Liberty came out firing in the second half, scoring just 34 seconds in when Fioriani volleyed a Kristin Crutchfield header into the goal. The Lions controlled play for several minutes after that, but the Panthers got a big break for the insurance goal.

New Lions goalie Jessica Riner came out to field a ball rolling near the edge of the box. However, she slipped and the ball squirted away and right to Tomko, who put an easy, left-footed shot into the empty net with 20:46 left in the game.

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