Westminster needed just 24 seconds of offense -- and a little luck -- to upset No. 1 Severna Park, 1-0, and win the state Class 4A field hockey championship yesterday at Goucher College.
Nicole Batten scored the goal just 24 seconds into the game giving the No. 8 Owls (15-1) their first title since 1985.
Instead of hitting Batten's stick, the ball appeared to carom off her leg and into the cage. Severna Park coach Lil Shelton appealed, but the officials let the goal stand.
The top-seeded Falcons (15-1) had plenty of chances to even the score. Immediately after the goal, Severna Park retaliated with four straight penalty corners. The Falcons got off four shots, but two never made it to the cage. Two more were stopped by Owls goalie Cindy Dieterly (four saves).
The Falcons had 15 penalty corners and 10 shots in the game, but second-seeded Westminster played excellent defense. Judie Marcus, Meredith Fisher, Staci Schmidt and Cara Ober displayed the defensive teamwork that has helped the Owls win seven 1-0 games this season.
Although the second half was fairly even, the Owls played cautiously. "We weren't intimidated by them. But they're a very good team, and sometimes we would slip back and wait for them to play the ball," said Marcus.
For the Falcons, link Lisa Hetrick and backs Suzanne Leavitt and Sally Morgan upset several Westminster scoring opportunities especially in the second half when the Owls had nine penalty corners and six shots. The ball rarely reached goalie Rachel Kidwell, who had one save.
Bethesda-Chevy Chase hadn't given up a goal this season, but South Carroll's Patty Duffy made the first one painful for the top-seeded Barons.
Duffy scored on a textbook corner play early in the second half to give No. 6 South Carroll a 1-0 upset victory over defending Class 4A champ BCC (15-1).
With their superior stick skills and speed, the Barons dominated South Carroll (15-1), outshooting the Cavaliers, 21-2.
The shot that counted came a little over two minutes into the second half.
On the corner hit, Duffy sent the ball to Audrey van Norman, who quickly passed back to Duffy for a perfectly angled shot. From about 10 yards out, Duffy nailed the ball into the far corner of the cage. Barons keeper Jessica Milhollin made a dive, but never had a chance to stop it.
After the goal, the Cavaliers decided to play defense the rest of the way.
"That's happened all season," said Cavaliers coach Stacy Stem. "We get ahead 1-0 and we die. We get real flat. We put so much pressure on our defense."
The Cavaliers defense withstood the test. Duffy, Heather Fitzgerald, Jessie DiSantostefano and Lisa Mitchell upset almost every corner play.
Middletown (12-1-3) and Chopticon (10-4-2) were declared co-champions after playing to a 0-0 tie in double overtime. It was the first title for Chopticon, from St. Mary's County, and the fourth for Middletown, of Frederick County.
Easton (15-1) was the only defending champion to repeat, taking the Class 1A title with a 1-0 victory over top-seeded Pocomoke (14-2). Mandy Neidert's second-half goal gave the Warriors their third title in four years.
Jayme Gilden scored the tying and go-ahead goals, as Park (8-2-4) defeated John Carroll, 3-1, for the AIS B Division championship yesterday at St. Paul's.