Wootton 2,

Walter Johnson 0

Wootton forward Lauren Berman didn't need to ask. The referee signaled for a penalty shot after a Wootton player was tripped in the penalty box and Berman felt confident, so she walked up to take the shot against Walter Johnson last night.

"Whoever wants to take it goes ahead and takes it," Coach Chris Thompson said. "No one needs permission. If they are comfortable, then all they have to do is step up."

Berman drove the ball into the lower corner of the net to score what turned out to be the game-winning goal in a 2-0 victory over host Walter Johnson in a Montgomery County 4A West Division game in Bethesda.

"No one was moving to take it, so I decided to do it," Berman said. "I just concentrated on what I was doing and kicked the ball in the goal."

No. 6 Wootton (7-0, 2-0 league) held the Wildcats (5-2, 0-2), who had scored 14 goals in their first six games, scoreless for the first time this season, further building its reputation as one of the area's toughest defenses. The Patriots have allowed just one goal this season.

Wootton's first-year starting defenders -- Heather Smart, Mary Ashe, Heather Destefano, Lisa Coote and Anne Lyons -- contained Walter Johnson's attack, and goalies Kira Maker and Kristie Buse, who each play one half of every game, combined for five saves.

"The first goal they got changed the game," said Walter Johnson Coach Tom Wheeler. "I thought we were able to get some good counterattacks going, but for whatever reason, we couldn't get our shots on goal."

"I'm surprised how well we've been able to play thus far, and now we just have to keep it up," Ashe said. "We just clicked right from the beginning of the season and we get more confidence every game. We know we are good enough to stop teams from scoring."

Berman's goal forced Walter Johnson to push up its defense in an effort to score the equalizing goal. But the strategy backfired, as junior Hilary O'Sullivan was able to dribble down the sideline and loft a perfect cross to forward Liz Green, who volleyed it into the back of the net.

"We know all we need is one or two goals because we feel safe with the defense we have," O'Sullivan said. "They've been awesome all season."