Tammy Kloiber can take the pressure.
In the past two years, the Fallston field hockey goalie has faced penalty strokes in three of her four state playoff games. She hasn't allowed any of those opponents to score.
Kloiber has never given up a goal on a penalty stroke.
The junior stopped her latest penalty stroke Saturday, Nov. 10 to preserve a 1-0 lead and give Fallston its third straight state Class 2A field hockey championship over James M. Bennett at Goucher College.
While Kloiber was the likely hero on defense, the Cougars (12-3-1) had an unlikely hero on offense: Cindy Hudson scored her first goal in two years, and it turned out to be the game-winner.
Hudson scored the goal barely five minutes into the game, and the Cougars played strong defense to hold off the Clippers (12-3-2), from Wicomico County. Kloiber tallied eight saves, including a spectacular one just before the penalty stroke.
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. Bennett keeper Morgan Horsey looked over her shoulder at Bittman's shot heading out of bounds.
Hudson dove in from the right and punched the ball behind Horsey into the cage.
The Clippers double-teamed Bittman right from the start, a strategy that baffled Fallston Coach Alice Puckett.
Fallston played first-class defense through most of the second half as Bennett pushed hard but just couldn't score. The Clippers had seven corners and seven shots in the half; Fallston managed four shots and one corner.
Kloiber had five saves in the second half, but she also received a lot of help from her defense. Halfbacks Erika Beynon, Jeanna Marzulla and Lori Anderson and sweeper Amy French played extremely well.
In a sudden-death shootout at the Cougars' state semifinal victory over Middletown, Kloiber saved two shots on penalty strokes.