Chopticon stops Mt. Hebron again in playoffs Field hockey

November 04, 1992|By Michael Richman | Michael Richman,Contributing Writer

There's a score that's gnawing at Mount Hebron's field hockey squad. And for the Vikings, it keeps coming at an inopportune time.

Yesterday, for the second consecutive year, Chopticon of St. Mary's County used the same 1-0 score to disappoint Mount Hebron in a Class 2A, Region III semifinal at Patapsco Middle School in Ellicott City.

Janeen DiMatteo's goal at 20 minutes, 27 seconds of the first half provided the difference, sending the third-seeded Braves into today's regional championship at top-seeded Patapsco, which topped fourth-seeded Pikesville, 1-0, in the other semifinal. Mount Hebron, the No. 2 seed, finished 9-2-1.

"It's frustrating," Vikings coach Jeannette Ireland said. "We played better this year than last year. Last year, we played a poor second half. This year, I thought it was a much more even go of it."

On paper, Ireland's squad dominated Chopticon (8-4-1) the defending state co- champions. Mount Hebron created advantages in shots on goal (6-2) and free hits in its opponent's territory (32-18). Scoring opportunities for the Vikings were limited, but they nevertheless failed to capitalize on three prime sequences midway through the second half. Braves goalie Gwen "Mad Dog" Vestraci made six saves, most of them clutch.

Vestraci was the only non-senior to start for Chopticon. DiMatteo, a senior back known as the team's best player, put the Braves ahead after receiving a penalty corner from senior forward Amy Poe. DiMatteo, positioned at the top of the striking circle, then lined a shot untouched past goalie Jen Brooks and into the net's left corner.

"I approached the circle and looked up," DiMatteo said. "When I saw that the net was open, I drove it to the left."

Mount Hebron frequently penetrated deep into Chopticon's zone. However, the tight defense of DiMatteo, Poe, Kacey Canter, Lauren Redmond and Nichole Holton stifled a lot of the Vikings' scoring threats.

Particularly when Mount Hebron pressured with 15 minutes left in the game, though, the Braves needed Vestraci to respond. First, the goalie blocked Julie Choi's lazy push shot. Later, she halted shots by Carey Butera and Janice Yoo. The rebound from Butera's attempt went to Yoo at the net's left, but the link couldn't stuff it in. Vestraci stymied another two-shot flurry just minutes later.

"Our goalkeeper is just awesome and when you get kids that play together for four years, these things happen," said Chopticon coach Nancy Bottorf.

Butera, a senior link, said that her team lacked aggressiveness because of Chopticon's verbal intimidation during play.

"Our team as a whole was tentative because of what Chopticon was saying," Butera said. "Personally, I don't think they have very good sportsmanship."

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