THURMONT — After Monday’s game, Frederick girls soccer players sang “Happy Birthday” to Cadets senior Destiny Spacil.
Spacil turned 18, and she’s been playing soccer for over 14 of those years. During her lengthy career, she’s developed into a versatile player.
“She plays everywhere,” Cadets coach Jose Saldivar said.
Frederick can plug her in at center back, striker or midfield. Also, the Cadets can confidently call upon Spacil to take penalty kicks, and that particular skill came in handy on Monday.
Frederick scored three goals on PKs — two by Spacil and one by Mackenzie Grove — en route to a 4-3 win over the Cougars.
It was the first win of the season for the Cadets, who withstood getting called repeatedly for being offsides and sustained Catoctin’s comeback threat in the final minutes.
With about a minute left, the Cougars narrowed Frederick’s lead to 4-3 when Jenna Zentz scored on a right-to-left cross from sophomore Emily Williams.
“It was a little chaotic, everyone kind of freaking out, scrambling,” Spacil said. “It felt good that we won.”
As it turned out, the insurance goal Spacil scored on a PK — awarded when she was taken down in the penalty box with 19:48 left — proved to be the difference-maker.
And in the first half, Spacil and Grove each scored match-tying goals on penalty kicks.
“It was really nice to capitalize on our opportunities,” said Frederick senior Sydney Robinson, who scored on an assist from Shae Bianchi. “I think Destiny and Mackenzie did a good job stepping up and handling the pressure.”
Spacil struck first during the 19th minute after a handball call. Her low shot to the right side tied the match 1-1.
Next up was Grove, who took a PK after teammate Sophia Rowe got tripped in the penalty box. Grove’s high shot skimmed the outstretched keeper’s hand, tying the match 2-2 with 11:34 left in the first half.
Spacil’s second PK goal came when she blasted a high shot slightly left of center. Being a longtime soccer player, she has a plan during such situations.
“I guess it depends on the keeper,” she said. “You can tell which way they’re going to dive based on their body position. So, whichever way they’re not going to dive, I try to shoot for that corner.”
While Robinson had Frederick’s only goal that didn’t come via PK, the Cadets (1-2) generated plenty of chances by racing downfield to chase down the ball. Robinson thought the team’s passing has shown improvement.
But often, the Cadets’ chances were either thwarted by Catoctin keeper Kira Jenkins-Miesner (eight saves) or frequent offsides calls.
“This is the first game we’ve had so many offsides,” Saldivar said. “Definitely, we’re going to work on that.”
Still, the Cadets did enough to prevail against a Catoctin team that also produced its share of scoring opportunities. Frederick keeper Zayana McCain made some tough saves, blocking seven shots on the night, and she faced heavy pressure from the Cougars during the final 10 minutes.
“The girls laid it on the line until the very end,” Catoctin coach Megan Olson said. “I mean that goal, with a couple minutes left ... the intensity was there, the focus was there and they were in this game. It was a well-fought game between Frederick and Catoctin.”
Catoctin’s Lily Smith scored the match’s first goal on a free kick just outside the box, and Morgan Cato scored with 13:11 in the first half to give the Cougars (0-3) a 2-1 lead.
“It was definitely back and forth,” Robinson said. “I’m just glad we pulled it out.”