Cindy Hudson scored her first goal of the season to lead Fallston to its third straight Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association Class 2A field hockey championship, a 1-0 victory over James M. Bennett yesterday at Goucher College.
Fallston (12-3-1) got its goal barely five minutes into the game, and then played spectacular defense to hold off the Clippers (12-3-2) from Wicomico County. Goalie Tammy Kloiber had eight saves, including one on a penalty stroke to preserve the win.
In the first half, the Cougars played as well as they had all season. They beat Bennett to the ball and covered especially well in the midfield. Links Molly Marshall, Kerri Guth and Nicole Clark blocked everything that came their way.
Hudson's goal came after the last of three successive 16-yard hits. First, Dawn Bittman shot from wide to the left of the goal. As Bennett keeper Morgan Horsey stood and watched Bittman's shot heading out of bounds, Hudson dived in from the right and punched the ball behind Horsey into the cage.
Kloiber, a senior two-year veteran, has never given up a goal on a penalty stroke. In the Cougars' state semifinal victory over Middletown, she had two saves in a sudden-death shootout.
When Bennett's powerful forward Hinke Brinkman stepped up to take the penalty stroke, Kloiber thought about all those other shots she had stopped.
"This was my last state [championship] game, so I just kept thinking I can't let it go in," said Kloiber.
Brinkman fired her shot to Kloiber's left. Kloiber reached out and batted the ball away at shoulder height. Fallston clung to its lead with 13 minutes, 17 seconds left.
Fallston played defense through most of the second half as Bennett pushed hard but just couldn't score.
In Class 3A, Calvert and Magruder were named co-champions after playing to a scoreless tie in overtime.