Centennial's title plans ruined, 2-1 Field hockey

November 04, 1993|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Staff Writer

Centennial's bid to win its first regional field hockey championship will have to wait until next year.

The No. 15 Eagles played well yesterday but lost a heart-breaker to top-seeded Linganore in the final minute and 20 seconds. The Lancers scored the game-winner on a penalty corner for a 2-1 victory in the Class 3A, North Region final at Linganore in Frederick County.

Although the second-seeded Eagles (9-4-1) dominated the second half, the Lancers (9-3-1) struck after their third penalty corner of the final two minutes. Melissa Superka popped a deflected ball high into the cage past the reach of Eagles keeper Becca Armiger.

"They had a little bit of luck down there," said Centennial coach Gail Purcell. "But I feel if you have to lose a game, it's much better to go out playing a tough team strong, and we did that. Their kids were physically bigger and stronger, and we met every one of them."

Early on, the Eagles spent much of the time in retreat as the Lancersblocked everything and constantly pressured the defense.

Great defense by link Katrina Wolfe and back Stephanie Schneider held off the Lancers on two early corners. Sweeper Kim May and backs Karyn Bruns and Cari Jones also turned in fine defensive efforts.

But the odds were on Linganore's side. With seven shots and five penalty corners in the first half, the Lancers broke through on a corner 10 minutes into the game.

Niki Novocin stopped the corner pass and sent it to Superka, who fired a shot that Laura Fleming redirected into the cage. May nearly made the stick save, but the ball deflected into the cage anyway.

The Lancers, who last won a region title 1988, did not let up for the rest of the half. But the Eagles' defense held tight.

"It was a little frustrating, but I think it was excellent defense they were playing. They just stopped us," said Linganore coach Bonnie Fenwick.

Going into halftime, the Eagles knew they were lucky to be down by just one goal. They turned a great defensive first half into a strong offensive second half.

Midway through the half, left wing Liz Sturm tied the game. Camped on the left post, Sturm waited for a sharp pass from Emily Ward high on the right wing. The ball traveled through a crowd, but when it reached Sturm, she punched it under diving Lancers keeper Sarah Griffin.

ZTC With strong midfield play from Wolfe, Chantal Loomis, Abbey Forbes and Allison Altcher, the Eagles kept pushing. They narrowly missed a handful of opportunities, but Purcell told her Howard County champions that she was pleased with their effort.

"These kids amazed me," said Purcell. "In 17 years at Centennial, I have never had such a young group play up to their potential."

Although disappointed, the Eagles knew they had come a long way.

"I have no problem with losing this game," said Wolfe. "We played well and our defense came together."

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