Chang­ing goals

Car­ney’s goal lifts Rams to win over Cava­liers

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By ANDY STATES as­tates@somd­news.com

Head­ing down the field with the ball at her feet, McDonough’s Pey­ton Car­ney had no il­lu­sions about what was at stake early in the sec­ond half of the Rams’ girls soc­cer team’s game at Calvert on Tues­day night.

Given that the Rams were locked in a score­less duel against one of the bet­ter teams in the state and had en­joyed al­most no op­por­tu­ni­ties to put a shot in the net, Car­ney knew she had to score.

“It was just so ex­cit­ing and I knew that we have very lim­ited chances in games like this,” Car­ney said of the mo­ment. “I just knew I had to take ad­van­tage of it, just re­lax and find the cor­ner.”

Car­ney was able to ma­neu­ver around Calvert goal­keeper Kalli Wil­liams and then de­liv­ered a shot into the va­cated net to score what was ul­ti­mately the only goal in McDonough’s 1-0 win in the South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence cross­over matchup. The vic­tory was per­haps the most sig­nif­i­cant in a sea­son that has seen the Rams log a num­ber of mile­stone vic­to­ries.

“Not hav­ing a big bench we know we have to bat­tle in these games, and my girls showed a tremen­dous amount of heart,” McDonough head coach Dave Brad­shaw said. “We had the same game plan against North Point, we knocked them off for the first time. Then we had Leonard­town, knocked them off for the first time. We fell short at Hunt­ing­town. I thought we played re­ally well in that game. The game got away from us a lit­tle bit, but the ef­fort was great . ... We just came out tonight, the girls believe in one an­other and they know they’re go­ing

to come out here and play with a short bench and they lift each other up. It was just a great, great team ef­fort tonight.”

Calvert (6-2 over­all) dom­i­nated play through the first half, but was never able to solve the McDonough de­fense and goal­keeper Marisa Gibbs. Then, in­side the first five min­utes of the sec­ond half, Car­ney’s goal put the pres­sure on the host Cava­liers.

The hosts had sev­eral chances to knot the score in the fi­nal 20 min­utes, in­clud­ing a shot by Alex Baker that went just wide of the goal and one by Claire Wil­liams that sailed just over the cross­bar, but they were never able to pull them­selves even.

“Calvert is one of the best that we’ve prob­a­bly ever played against, def­i­nitely

one of the best this sea­son. I re­ally feel like this was a great win for us. We re­ally stuck through to the end,” Gibbs said. “I feel like this game has re­ally proved that we’re switch­ing it around. We’re com­ing out on top against these up­per-level teams.”

Once Car­ney saw her shot go into the net, she was con­fi­dent that her team’s de­fense would be able to make the lead stand.

“We have a very pow­er­ful de­fense,” she said. “I knew that if we could get one goal, we could do it. I was very proud of us. We worked hard to the very end. I was very proud of us. Our de­fense worked very hard.”

While McDonough (81) has en­joyed some suc­cess in re­cent years, the pro­gram does not have much his­tory as a SMAC pow­er­house. But so far in 2018 the team has only suf­fered one loss — to a

Hunt­ing­town squad that fin­ished as the Class 3A state run­ner-up last sea­son — and now have a win over a Calvert pro­gram that has played in two 2A state fi­nals in the previous four sea­sons and is seem­ingly al­ways play­ing for re­gional cham­pi­onships and be­yond most ev­ery year in the re­cent past. And the goals for the cur­rent Rams team, while more chal­leng­ing now, were de­cid­edly modest when their high school ca­reers be­gan.

“We have 10 se­niors on this team that when they first came in, writ­ing down on their goal sheet that maybe they’d win a con­fer­ence game,” Brad­shaw said. “Now it’s to the point where they want to win the con­fer­ence. The growth we’ve seen in the pro­gram has been tremen­dous.

“The girls believe. They put in the work in the off­sea­son, play year-round

and come out ev­ery day and work hard in prac­tice. The whole cli­mate has changed. They believe they can win ev­ery time they step out onto the field. They’re just a joy to coach.”

Calvert will look to bounce back when it trav­els to Great Mills for a sched­uled 6 p.m. game tonight. McDonough, which had a home con­test against West­lake on the sched­ule for Thurs­day night, has a home date with against St. Charles on tap for 6 tonight. Brad­shaw was hop­ing to see his team con­tinue to make strides as the reg­u­lar sea­son winds down.

“We have high ex­pec­ta­tions,” he said. “We’re hop­ing we can com­pete for the con­fer­ence and hope­fully get to the next level [in the play­offs] to the state cham­pi­onship game. But what’s great about these girls is they just take it one game at

a time. Right now we’re wor­ried about West­lake. That’s our next game and we’re just tak­ing them one at a time. What­ever comes will come from it. I’m very proud of the way they keep it in per­spec­tive.”

Calvert head coach John Baker was un­avail­able for com­ment.

STAFF PHOTO BY ANDY STATES

Calvert’s Kayleigh Ve­nis, cen­ter, tries to work be­tween McDonough’s Kori Sheck­ells, left, and Pey­ton Car­ney dur­ing Tues­day night’s game at Calvert. The vis­it­ing Rams de­feated Calvert on Car­ney’s sec­ond-half goal, 1-0.

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