Centennial upsets Fallston to take state championship Cougars suffer first defeat in 48 games, 1-0, in 2 OTs

3A field hockey

November 12, 1995|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

Fallston, whose best defense had been its offense in winning 16 straight games, gave up only its second goal of the year yesterday. However, it came with 15 seconds left in a second overtime period, and was enough to get upset-minded Centennial past the No. 2 Cougars, 1-0, in the Class 3A state championship game at Goucher College.

The loss, Fallston's first since a regional final against Rising Sun in 1992, ended a run of 46-0-2 over three seasons, a streak that includes two straight Class 2A championships.

Although Fallston dominated much of the play on a rainy, windy afternoon, it went for nought when senior forward Jenny Silverman sent a shot past Cougars goalkeeper Julie Clark.

A hit to the left side set up the play, as two Centennial players beat a defender to the ball, forcing Clark to come out in a 2-on-1 situation where she had no chance.

The perfect hit sent the ball 12 yards into the far right corner of the cage. Centennial added to its celebration by peeling off game jerseys to reveal white T-shirts with "Believe" emblazoned in red.

The title was the first in the sport for a Howard County team in four attempts, and raised the record of the No. 15 Eagles to 11-4-2. It was the second triumph for a Centennial team over a favored Fallston team in less than 24 hours, as it followed the Eagles' 1-0 girls soccer win in a state semifinal game Friday night.

After early struggles, Centennial coach Gail Purcell said her team came together after a loss to Mount Hebron a month ago and produced six successive shutouts.

Credit senior goalkeeper Becca Armiger with much of that, particularly yesterday's game when she had 26 saves.

Fallston spent much of the game in its offensive end and had plenty of chances to score, but Armiger either kicked away the shots or made last-second deflections that kept the Harford County team off the scoreboard.

"Becca's been peaking since a [scoreless] tie with Howard a month ago," said Purcell, in her 19th year as coach at Centennial. "She's the individual who got us to where we are. She's that good."

At the same time, Purcell had praise for the opposition: "You had to be impressed with Fallston -- the speed, the stick skills, the finesse. I thought so much of it, I asked Alice [Fallston coach Alice Puckett] for a copy of the tape to show off the skills."

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