Centennial defeats Mount Hebron, 3-0 No. 2 seed Eagles advance to final

November 02, 1993|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Staff Writer

No. 15 Centennial never has been to the state field hockey final four. But now, the Eagles stand just one step away.

With a 3-0 victory over Mount Hebron yesterday, the second-seeded Eagles (9-3-1) advance to tomorrow's Class 3A North region title game. Top-seeded Linganore, which beat Howard, 5-0, in yesterday's other semifinal, awaits the Eagles.

Centennial will have to get off to a quicker start than it did against Mount Hebron (5-8) yesterday.

"Because of our youth, it takes us seven or eight minutes to settle," said Centennial coach Gail Purcell, who carries just two seniors on her squad. "Going against a team that can go in and score against us -- and I think Linganore is certainly a team like that -- scares me a little."

Once over that early hump, the Eagles have been playing well. A young team with few playoff hopes early on, they are peaking at the right time. Friday, the Eagles won their first outright Howard County title with a 1-0 victory over Hammond.

"The county championship helps a lot," said Katrina Wolfe, the Eagles' veteran midfielder. "We're confident now. Saturday night, we had a party and made T-shirts for being county champs. We really bonded, and I think, that's coming across on the field. We feel like we can do it."

After about a six-minute struggle yesterday, the Eagles dominated the rest of the game, outshooting the Vikings, 18-5. They also had an 11-3 edge in penalty corners.

Sophomore forwards scored all the goals. Amy Altcher had two and Liz Sturm one.

The Vikings could not take advantage of Centennial's early lapse. Several good pushes went into the circle, but the Vikings managed no shots.

"We didn't finish well in the circle," Vikings coach Jeannette Ireland said. "We've been very inconsistent. Our problem is inexperience, and mistakes have plagued us all season."

After defending that initial Vikings surge, the Eagles turned the momentum. Just nine minutes into the game, Altcher caught the perfect angle on a crossing pass from Chantal Loomis and shot the ball past charging Vikings keeper Jennifer Brooks.

Brooks played well, making 11 saves. She also saved Wolfe's penalty stroke midway through the second half. Trying to back up her inexperienced teammates, however, Brooks got caught out of position on a couple of Eagles' goals.

The Eagles finished off the first half with a second goal from the Altcher-Loomis scoring tandem.

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