Top seed Centennial surprised, 4-1

November 05, 1992|By Chuck Acquisto | Chuck Acquisto,Contributing Writer

A nine-day layoff didn't appear to hurt fourth-seeded Thomas Johnson yesterday, as it upset top-seeded host Centennial, 4-1, in a Class 3A, Region III field hockey playoff game yesterday.

Thomas Johnson senior forward Jen Banach led the offensive surge, scoring three goals -- two unassisted -- on just three shots. Banach's second goal, coming just 6:27 into the second half, gave the Frederick school a 2-1 lead.

"This really comes as a shock because last year I was playing defense," said Banach, who led Thomas Johnson (6-6) with six goals during the regular season. "Centennial may have had the better record, but I sensed we wanted to win this game a little bit more than they did."

Centennial's loss dropped the Eagles' final record to 9-4 and left coach Gail Purcell wondering what happened to the team's offensive punch. After all, the Eagles squandered 20 corner-shot opportunities.

Centennial had breezed through much of the regular season with a 9-1 record before dropping the final two games, to Hammond, 1-0, and Glenelg, 2-0. Before those two county losses, the Eagles averaged 3.6 goals in a five-game span.

"I wish I could read minds, so I could figure out what happened to us," said Purcell, in her 16th season coaching Centennial. "My goalie [Lisa Stichler] played a good game, although the score doesn't reflect it. We just didn't play team defense."

Thomas Johnson coach Pam Dove used a steady string of subs and 18 players overall to keep her players fresh and hungry. Dove's strategy may have accounted for the Patriots controlling much of the second-half action.

Centennial's lone goal was scored by sophomore forward Emily Ward, tying the game at 1-1 two minutes before halftime.

"We had our chances, but we may have been pressing a little too hard," Centennial forward Amber Saunders said. Centennial outshot Thomas Johnson 12-6, but Patriots goalie Robin Sines met the task.

Thomas Johnson advances to the region final to play the Linganore-South Carroll winner at 3:15 p.m. tomorrow.

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