It's not often a freshman is good enough to start up top for Lexington Catholic, usually ranked among the top 10 teams in the state.
"Let's just say it's fairly rare for there to be a freshman up there," said Coach Terry Quigley, who has been at this for 18 seasons and had to go back more than 10 years to remember the last one.
Mary Beth Gorham, Quigley's freshman forward, showed why she was up there Wednesday night. She scored twice, including the go-ahead goal, for the fifth-ranked Knights in their 3-1 soccer win over No. 17 Lexington Christian at LCA.
"Tonight, she really took it up a notch," Quigley said. "She played as well as she has for a while. She started the season real strong then hit the freshman doldrums and was trying to find herself.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
"But she never quit working, and I was really proud of her tonight."
Gorham admits that being a freshman on a team that is usually loaded with juniors and seniors is a little intimidating at times.
"They're so much older, and I can get low self-esteem sometimes, but then one of my teammates tells me I'm doing a good job or to keep it up, and that helps," she said.
Her self-esteem didn't look as if it needed a boost when she put the Knights up 2-1. Gorham took a touch to the left, then shot around a diving Myranda Powers.
"It feels really good because you know your team can calm down a little bit and play at normal pace," she said.
LCA forced Catholic into a more frantic pace in the second half, coming out strong despite playing at a 1-0 deficit nearly the whole first half after Alex Waller scored two minutes in. It was the junior's second goal in as many games.
It looked as if Waller's goal might stand until early in the second half, when the Eagles got more aggressive.
Maddie Boone, who had her chances all game, finally got one to go nine minutes into the half. The junior took a feed from Lauren Taylor, worked around two defenders and launched it into the goal from 20 yards out to tie it up 1-1.
"We knew we needed to calm down after that, and we did," Catholic defender Awbrey Wahle said.
Quigley wasn't sure how his group would respond after Boone's goal.
"Lexington Christian was taking it to us and it became a question of what is our team character going to be?" he said. "We took it up a notch instead of backing down."
Gorham put the Knights up for good with 22 minutes left in the game. She found the goal a second time with 8:33 remaining.
She benefited from the work of senior Chelsea Smith, who took the first shot, which was blocked by Powers in the goal. But the ball bounced off Powers, and Gorham popped it right back in to make it 3-1.
The LCA defense had given up just 10 goals before allowing three Wednesday.
Coach Steve Fugmann said he made some adjustments at Monday's practice, and the team is still working them out.
"We made just three mistakes tonight," he said. "We paid for all three mistakes. So I'm happy. The girls are happy. We know what we've got to fix."
Lexington Catholic 3, Lexington Christian 1
Goals—LC: Alex Waller, Mary Beth Gorham 2; LCA: Maddie Boone. Goalkeepers—LC: Ciara Thomas; LCA: Myranda Powers.
Records—Lexington Catholic 10-4-1, LCA 9-3-1.