WESTMINSTER — It was a lonely afternoon for Owls goalie Cindy Dieterly, a good thing for the Westminster High School field hockey team.
The top-seeded Owls dominated fourth-seeded Gaithersburg and advanced to the Class 4A Region I finals with a 3-0 victory at Westminster.
The Owls will be back in action tomorrow when they play host to second-seeded Perry Hall (10-2), which blanked third-seed Dulaney, 1-0, in overtime yesterday.
"It was a total team effort," Westminstercoach Brenda Baker said of the win. "We ran a lot of players in and out and the subs played, as well as the starters.
"Everyone can feel good about this win."
Westminster was in control throughout thecontest, constantly pressing the issue on offense with a relentless attack.
The Owls took a 2-0 halftime lead, peppering Gaithersburg goalie Kathy Cummins with 14 shots.
After countless scrambles in front of the Gaithersburg net, Corrine Glover scored unassisted to give the Owls a 1-0 lead with nine minutes gone in the first half of theplayoff.
Westminster scored after a long hit centered the ball directly in front of the Gaithersburg cage; several Owl players took whacks at it before Glover hammered it home.
Misti Warner made it 2-0 with just under four minutes remaining in the half off a feed from Tinah Houck.
The second goal came in much of the same fashion as the first, with a lot of hard work in front of the Gaithersburg net.
Houck got control of the ball and pushed it to Warner who depositedin the Gaithersburg cage.
It was much of the same in the second half, as Houck made it 3-0 three minutes into the period.
She brokefree from half-field on the left side, dodged by one Gaithersburg defender and drove a hard shot past Cummins.
"She (Houck) played a great game," Baker said.
"The last goal she did all on her own, andyou don't see that much in this game."
That was all the scoring Westminster needed, as the Owls outshot Gaithersburg, 19-0, on the game.
It was the 11th shutout of the season for the Owls, who improved to 12-1 overall.
Baker knows the road will only get tougher.
"Our defense didn't get tested too much," she said.
"It's gonna bea lot tougher from here on in."
One thing working in the Owls' favor in their quest for a third consecutive region title is the home-field advantage.
"It's a definite advantage playing in front of thehome crowd," she said.
"Particularly playing in the afternoon, wehad a lot more students at the game."