No. 1 Westminster wins on strokes, White's saves Owls beat Whitman, 2-0, in state title game again

Class 4A field hockey

November 06, 1997|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

Emily White says she thrives on pressure, Westminster's coach says her goalkeeper thrives on pressure, and opposing coaches agree. As the stakes get higher, the better the junior plays.

It would be hard to believe she could play better than yesterday, however, as she led the Owls to a 2-0 shootout victory over Walt Whitman and into the state Class 4A championship game.

In the process, the Westminster players gave 16-year coach Brenda Baker her 200th career victory. Overall, her teams have gone 200-38-6.

For the second successive year, Westminster will play No. 2-ranked Severna Park (16-0) for the championship at Goucher College -- at 11: 30 a.m. Saturday.

The semifinal was one befitting a 13-1 team, Montgomery County's Whitman, against a 15-0 entry ranked No. 1 in the Baltimore area. Each side had periods of domination and scoring chances but came away empty after regulation, and two 10-minute overtimes playing seven-on-seven.

Westminster gladly would have taken a goal somewhere along the line, but its chief concern was holding Whitman, because all the Owls knew that once it got to strokes, they were in command.

Last Thursday, Westminster tied Chesapeake-Anne Arundel with 20 seconds left, worked through two overtimes, then turned it over to White.

Chesapeake won the toss, and, with each side sending out five shooters, went first. Carli Harris and Lisa Duke made the first two for Westminster and White made them stand up as she turned aside four successive shots.

This time, Westminster won the toss, elected to go first, and Harris promptly drilled one to the right of senior keeper Julia McCombs. White used her hands to push out Maggie Sivon's shot. When Sarah Palia rapped one past McCombs' left, and White did a split to thwart Melissa Dorman, it was 2-0 after two rounds.

Westminster's Lisa Duke, a senior 17-goal scorer, had her shot knocked aside, and another White split thwarted Kendra VanderGaag. In the fourth round, the Owls' Cindy Reese was stopped and it came down to White against Anne Lee, a senior midfielder.

Lee's hot was high to the right of White, who used her stick to deflect it.

"Stops in that situation come down to reaction or guess," said White. "With a slow stroke, you can wait to make your move. The fast shots are all reaction. These bracket and a penalty shot in regulation bracket were all reaction."

On the other side, Harris, the middle of an Owls' defense that has limited its opponents to two goals in the regular season and two in the playoffs, said of going first: "We wanted to go first. I feel confident about it, and we want that edge. After that, we've got the best goalie and the best strokers."

Palaia, moved into the second slot, said, "We just did what we do in practice. I wanted to go about knee high, because the keeper usually can't decide whether to use her hand or her stick. When Carli went left, I went right."

Of this season, as well as in the past, Baker declared, "We try not to have any surprises. We practice going from seven-on-seven to strokes; we practice the strokes, and who will take them.

"You have ask yourself 'Can they do it,' and they give you a good idea about it."

Of White, Baker said, "She thrives on pressure. She was the key to 0-0."

Walt Whitman coach Mary Pat Veihmeyer could only shake her head. "We should have won it earlier. Their goalkeeper kept them in the game. She's a great player."

Pub Date: 11/06/97

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