Dulaney senior Jenna Welsh doesn’t usually say much when she enters a soccer game, but she was feeling something different Tuesday against rival Hereford.
So when coach Maurice Boylan Jr. gave his usual instructions as she was getting ready to take to the field midway through the first half — asking for a lot of energy — she promised him even more.
“I was just really feeling it today with our big rival, Hereford, and I was like, ‘Mo, I’m going to score today!’ and the next thing you know I go in and score. It was so great,” she said.
In the 25th minute — five minutes after she came in — Welsh collected a pass sent in by Mia Connor and scored in front from eight yards out. The defense handled the rest — a mighty assignment with the visiting Bulls pressing throughout the second half — as No. 13 Dulaney walked off its home field with a 1-0 win in Baltimore County Division I play.
Dulaney improves to 3-1 overall and 2-0 in league play, while Hereford drops to 5-3 overall and 0-2 in the league with a pair of one-goal setbacks.
After Welsh provided the needed offense in the first half, the Lions defense proved up to the task in keeping a swarming Bulls attack off the scoreboard. Senior goalkeeper Emmy Herron made six saves with defenders Brianna Alvarez, Brooke Knabe, Hannah Gobell and Maya Cirrincione holding down the fort in front of her.
“Tiring,” Cirrincione, a sophomore right back, said of the relentless push by the Bulls in second half. “It’s a little scary because you just never know if you have one bad touch, it could be 1-1 and then their energy is up and they can easily get another one. I feel like we all worked together and they kind of kept picking it up, so we had to drop back and work together well to get it back up the field.”
Immediately upon entering the game in the first half, Welsh had a nice first touch on a give-and-go with a teammate to get settled into play. Minutes later, she found the ball at her feet with time to score her fourth goal of the season.
“It wasn’t really an awesome goal or anything like that, but I think it really hyped up the energy and I think everyone was like, ‘OK, we’re going to do this, we’re going to win,’” she said. “It was just going through my mind so quick and I was thinking we just really need one early to set the tone really quickly.”
Hereford coach Brad Duvall challenged his team at halftime, asking them to play the second half as if it were a playoff game.
They came hard from the start, but the Lions defense couldn’t be beaten. With 7:50 left to play, Natalie Radebaugh served in a corner kick that found Atkins in front, but her header was just high of the crossbar.
In addition to the work up front by Atkins and Kauffman, Duvall applauded the poised play from sophomore center back Ava Mays.
“They play hard, physical and we didn’t match that in the first half,” Duvall said. “We fell asleep for a little bit and they took advantage of it. And then down 1-0, it’s hard to come back and get back on the front foot. I thought we played hard in the second half, and if we would have just brought that in the first half, maybe it’s a different game. But they’re a tough, physical team and this is not an easy place to play.”
Dulaney will travel to Roland Park for a nonconference game Friday at 4:15 p.m. before returning to league action on Tuesday at Perry Hall. Hereford hosts Eastern Tech at 5:15 p.m. Monday.
No. 13 Dulaney 1, Hereford 0
Goals: D — Welsh
Assists: D — Connor
Saves: H — Janney 2, K. Nieberlein 1; D — Heron 6
Half: Dulaney, 1-0