Centennial escapes, 1-0, wins county title Dugan's second-half goal gets Eagles past Mt. Hebron

Field hockey

October 21, 1998|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Melissa Dugan was ready.

The Centennial senior midfielder positioned herself near the Mount Hebron cage as teammate Tara Moleski took a free hit from just outside the right side of the circle. Players from both teams crowded the circle.

"It was just havoc in there," Dugan said.

Moleski hit the ball well, and somehow it went past the first group of players without being touched. "I was ready just in case it came through," Dugan said. "That's what I work on in practice."

The ball rolled toward Dugan's stick and she never hesitated, striking the ball firmly and putting it into the cage. The goal, with 25: 23 left in the second half, held up as the ninth-ranked Eagles topped the visiting and 10th-ranked Vikings, 1-0.

The victory, combined with Wilde Lake's 1-0 overtime win over 12th-ranked Hammond, earned Centennial its seventh county title. The Eagles (11-2 overall, 8-0) shared county championships in 1981, '90 and '95 and earned outright titles in '82, '93 and '94.

"I'm proud of them because of what they have brought to Centennial hockey," said coach Gail Purcell. "The county championship is the icing on the cake."

Two-time defending county champion Mount Hebron (8-5, 6-2) had the better statistics, taking eight more shots shots (12-4) and getting seven more corners (10-3). The Vikings didn't have the statistic that matters most.

"In field hockey, it's not always the team that plays the best, it's the team that scores," said Mount Hebron forward Katie Jeschke. "The main frustration is that we played very well. We just didn't score."

"We outhustled them, we outplayed them. It was our best game of the season," said Mount Hebron goalie Katelyn Hoffman. "We just couldn't finish."

"We just couldn't put it in," said Mount Hebron coach Jeannette Ireland said. "We had a lot of good shots."

Mount Hebron dominated the first half. The Eagles' only shot of the half came in the final minute.

"We were just watching them play with the ball and hoping we could stop it," said Dugan. "We weren't going for the ball."

Said Purcell, "Their skill, aggressiveness and tenacity really outshined us in the first half."

Dugan's sixth goal 4: 37 into the second half changed the way Centennial played. "In the first half our midfielders were playing a more defensive game, and were afraid to think offensive," Purcell said. "After the goal they all relaxed and started to go on attack and get the ball in the circle."

Purcell credited her team for winning while not playing its best.

"A good team pulls it off," Purcell said. "Even if they don't have a good day, they find a way to get it done. That's what we did."

Pub Date: 10/21/98

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