North Carroll breaks region hex, 1-0, in OT

November 03, 1994|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Sun Staff Writer

For once, destiny smiled yesterday on a North Carroll field hockey team.

The 11th-ranked Panthers finally landed an elusive berth in the state 2A championship tournament when Amber Bosley drilled a shot into the right corner of the cage with seven minutes gone in sudden-death overtime.

Bosley's scorching shot gave North Carroll a 1-0 victory over 10th-ranked Liberty in the 2A West Region final at Liberty, ending a Cinderella ride for the Lions (10-4), who came within one win of a second straight state tournament appearance after starting the season 0-2.

Time after time, Bosley led North Carroll (10-3-1) on fast breaks to set up high-percentage scoring opportunities, but on each occasion the Liberty defense and goalkeeper Heather Carter found a way to escape.

Carter made a nice save on a Bosley shot with just five seconds left in regulation play.

But in overtime, Bosley ended it after the ball came bouncing to her out of a crowd along the right side. The goal ended two years of frustration in 2A West Region play for the Panthers.

In 1992, North Carroll was beaten in the first round of the regionals by Glenelg, which scored the winning goal while an injured Panthers player was lying on the ground.

Last season was the loss to Liberty on strokes in the 2A West championship game.

After denying North Carroll a state tournament berth last year, Liberty beat the Panthers this season, 2-1, in overtime to prevent North Carroll from winning the Carroll County title.

So it should not have been too surprising that the Panthers were sky high yesterday and they even reached back for some help from an age-old cure for bad luck -- superstition.

"It was all superstition today," said North Carroll link Jill Ballard. "I had a good feeling. We reversed everything from the way we did it last year. We crossed our sticks differently, we were playing on this field [Liberty] instead of ours, we were the underdogs not the favorites, and we were relying on lucky number 77 for help.

"Most of our players were born in 1977 and that was the year North Carroll won its only state championship."

The Panthers players even gave their coach Denean Koontz a large maple leaf for good luck Sunday.

Liberty coach Courtney Vaughn said: "We didn't show up for this game. I don't know where my players were but they weren't in this game. I tried everything but nothing worked to get them going. No one went to the ball. I asked four players why they were so flat and they all said, 'I don't know.'"

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