Perry Hall's 1st half clears path for title

Early goals, defense stop Loch Raven, 3-1

Girls soccer

High Schools

October 24, 2002|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Spot Perry Hall's No. 4 team a 1-0 lead and the Gators are tough to beat. A 2-0 lead and it's nearly impossible. A 3-0 lead?

"It's incredibly difficult," said Loch Raven defender Lauren Askey. "You know they're going to capitalize on everything. They capitalized on three set plays and you know they're not going to let up."

Last night at Loch Raven, the Gators scored three times in the first half and cruised to a 3-1 victory and their second straight Baltimore County championship.

Defense has been the Gators' hallmark for past few years. This season, the backfield unit led by Ashley Carroll, Kirstin Gauvin and Katie Orlando came into the game having posted eight shutouts and having allowed only five goals.

"I'm very pleased with the way the whole team played tonight," said coach Brad Kressman, whose Gators (12-1) have not lost to a Baltimore County opponent in two years. "When we get finishing, the sky is the limit, because most of the time we're going to play percentage, smart defense."

Perry Hall's attack certainly made the defense's job easier last night. Jessica Knight scored the first goal in the 17th minute and Lori Carpenter added two in the 24rd and 36th minutes.

The Raiders (9-4) took the first shot - Askey's free kick from about 35 yards, but the Gators had a better chance on the counterattack. Carpenter, running with a defender, nearly slipped the ball inside the right post, but Raiders goalie Kate Chapman deflected it wide.

On the corner kick, Brittany McKew lofted the ball to the middle of the goal mouth, where Knight and a defender went hip-to-hip and the ball landed in the right corner of the net.

Carpenter then put on a show with a beautiful header off Carroll's long kick. After Carroll nailed another restart off the right post that bounced toward the middle, Carpenter tapped in the loose ball.

The Raiders, playing in their first county final since 1999, have been a second-half team all season and it was no different last night.

In the 59th minute, Laurie Goon sent a corner kick that landed a few yards in front of the goal. One Loch Raven player fell down in the scuffle, but Shannon Stierhoff found a clear lane to the net, pulling the Raiders within 3-1.

"We're a low-scoring team. We find ways to win, but we've never been down three goals this year," said Raiders coach Mike Parker.

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