Key clinches playoff spot with 3-1 win

October 25, 1994|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Sun Staff Writer

A late-season drive to survive for the Francis Scott Key field hockey team ended on a brilliant note yesterday.

High-scoring junior wing Stacey Greene and the visiting Eagles clinched a state Class 1A regional playoff berth with a convincing 3-1 victory over South Carroll.

Greene dazed the Cavaliers (6-4-1) with two goals in the first 4:30 off quick strikes, and later in the half assisted Holly Talbert on Key's third goal for a 3-1 lead at halftime.

According to Key coach Mindi Wagner, the Eagles will begin 1A regional play next Monday at 3:30 p.m. against an undetermined opponent.

It was the fifth straight win for the Eagles (6-6), who are beginning to play like the Key team that was celebrated before the season.

Francis Scott Key entered the season as the defending state 1A champions and had eight of 11 starters returning from that 13-1-2 squad.

But the Eagles shocked everybody by losing their first four games, and were 1-6 (five of their losses were by one goal) before making a run that has given them a chance to defend their title.

Greene ran her scoring totals to 13 goals and four assists this season and has seldom been better than she was in the first half yesterday.

Despite being marked closely by South Carroll's excellent defender Katie Rockwell, Greene dominated play at times with her size and speed.

"I've never seen Stacey Greene play better," said South Carroll coach Stacy Stem. "We stopped her better in the second half, but we just weren't aggressive enough throughout the game to win."

The Cavaliers have wrapped up a 3A regional playoff berth, but Stem isn't overly optimistic about her team's chances of advancing to the states.

"We have no speed and our whole defense was in trouble early in the game today," said Stem. "My goalie [Jaime Moyer] didn't see the ball either time on those first two goals."

However, South Carroll rallied to cut the Key lead to 2-1 on a goal by Megan Evans. Evans took a pass from Jill Baldwin on a penalty corner to score at the 8:10 mark of the first half.

But the Cavaliers couldn't catch the Eagles, even though the home team controlled the first 18 minutes of the second half.

South Carroll outshot Key, 6-0, in that 18-minute stretch, including four point-blank shots that Eagles goalkeeper Missy Muller turned back. Muller finished with 12 saves.

Jen Gallagher and Amy Layman played strong defense in front of Muller in the second half to help keep South Carroll off the scoreboard.

"We're playing more as a team now," said Greene. "We have our mind set on the regionals. We were pressing too much at the start of the season, trying to live up to our press clippings."

Wagner said the Eagles are "peaking at the right time. We're playing better because we've changed our style to a 3-3-3 which has pepped up our offense."

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