Walter Johnson will get shot at championship North Carroll is ousted by 1-0 semifinal defeat

Class 3A field hockey

November 10, 1998|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

Walter Johnson, winner of one state championship, will get a shot at another Saturday after turning aside North Carroll, 1-0, in the Class 3A state semifinals at Goucher College yesterday.

The victorious Wildcats (12-4), who had relied on a superior defense throughout the season, got some help at the other end of the field in thwarting a North Carroll team bidding to make a final for the first time since 1987.

"Today they were the better team; they outplayed us," said North Carroll coach Denean Koontz, who previously had taken a team this far in 1994. "We couldn't penetrate and just didn't have scoring chances."

Walter Johnson, a 1989 titlist, will play Fallston (14-3), a 1-0 winner over defending champion Northern-Calvert, for the title. This will be the eighth final in the last 11 years for the Cougars and coach Alice Puckett.

Katie Fox, a senior attack, got the goal, scoring from the right side of the cage on an assist from senior Jamie Little 7 minutes, 20 seconds into the second half. It was the first goal allowed by the junior since the end of the regular season, as she had shut out three regional foes.

For the year, Devan Bosley allowed nine goals, and Jackie Lann, her Walter Johnson counterpart, eight, but no more than one in any game until a 2-1 loss to Poolesville in the regular-season finale. Lann also shut out three regional foes.

The Bethesda team had much the better of the play, but was otherwise shut down by excellent defense, particularly from senior Katie Holmes and junior Katie Walker. Senior Meredith Gill found herself playing defense more often than offense, as the Panthers were taken out of their game by solid defenders. A good passing attack enabled Walter Johnson to spend much of the afternoon in its offensive end.

"We knew they were strong physically, but our defense is solid, and we thought if our offense gets clicking we'd be fine," said Walter Johnson coach Candy Thurman. "We were aggressive to the ball and that really helped."

Walker admitted the opposition was tough. "They gave us problems because they moved the ball so quickly, and got the fast breaks," she said.

North Carroll went into the game having scored 41 goals to 32 for Walter Johnson. The Panthers had two dependable senior scorers -- county leader Jessica Bradford (16 goals, five assists) and Katie Mullinix (nine goals, five assists) -- and the opposition had senior Megan Pearlman (six goals, six assists) and juniors Stephanie Aleskow (four goals, eight assists) and Anne Saunders (seven goals, one assist).

The winners got superb play from two of their leaders, midfielder Pearlman and senior defender Ellen VandeLoo.

Pearlman has been fighting the flu, with its fever and headaches, and she spent the weekend resting, but said there was no way she was not playing. Her right eye was swollen shut Sunday night, but it was open enough by game time for her to be omnipresent in the victory.

Pub Date: 11/10/98

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