Bel Air hockey coach Phyllis Hemmes posted her 200th career victory Friday afternoon, and no one was more surprised at the milestone thanher players.
"We had no idea," said senior midfielder Amy Sullivan, after the Bobcats won a 3-0 match against North Harford. "I guess she thought it would have made us more nervous, and it probably wouldhave."
After the game, the players scrambled to give their coach an autographed hockey ball to mark the occasion.
Hemmes said she kept thesecret from her players because they were already under enough pressure to win. In beating North Harford, the Bobcats raised their recordto 11-0 overall and 7-0 in the county. They have been ranked No. 1 or tied for No. 1 consistently in The Sun's poll.
"I didn't want them to think they were only out there for me," said Hemmes.
Hemmes has coached field hockey at Bel Air for 23 years, including 20 at thevarsity level. She has won nine county titles, five regional titles and a state championship. Her record stands at 200 wins, 54 losses and 12 ties, but she won't take all the credit.
"It's hard to say it's just my 200th win. A lot of people had a lot to do with it. Alice Puckett (now Fallston head coach) had a lot to do with it. Kathy Breymaier (C. Milton Wright head coach) had a lot to do with it. I've hada lot of good assistant coaches and junior varsity coaches."
Hemmes' opponent Friday understood how rarely a 200-win career comes along.
"I think that's quite an accomplishment," said Coach Fran Norman, in her 18th season with the Hawks. "She pays attention to the particulars and is very demanding of her team.
Friday, both Hemmes andNorman had an idea early on in the game that the milestone wouldn't have to wait.
Carly Bivens scored the first goal with 3:18 left inthe first half. Michelle Bowen and Michelle Thomas had second-half goals on assists from Angelina Trionfo and Sullivan.
The Bobcats were so dominating that they had 21 corners and outshot the Hawks, 28-1. North Harford never managed a shot against the Bobcats starters.
North Harford's only threat came during a three-minute period in thesecond half. Hemmes cleared her bench, and the Hawks answered with three corners and a shot.
North Harford (3-7, 1-4) didn't play likethe same team that took defending county champion Fallston to doubleovertime before falling 1-0 on Wednesday. "We were not focused," said Norman. "With homecoming and the pep rally before the game, we justhad too many distractions."
The Hawks, however, did have some good defensive plays from Carie James, Megan Lyons and Stacey Shackleford as well as goalie Kristin Archer (14 saves).
Fallston is the next opponent for Bel Air. They meet Tuesday at 3:15 for the county championship at Bel Air.