The Centennial Eagles, who ended the regular season on a three-game losing streak, ended the postseason last night on a five-game winning streak and with a state championship.
The Eagles, combining solid defense and an opportunistic offense, defeated Middletown of Frederick County, 2-0, for the Class 2A state title at North County High School. Centennial has been in six state tournaments and won five (1991-92, 1994-95, '98), more than any other team in the state.
Centennial was able to shut down Middletown all-state forward Anne Rieser, who has 25 goals.
Senior Kim Paulus, who had never played defense until two games ago, stayed with Rieser the entire game. And midway through the second half, Centennial coach Mike Senisi moved Mandy Zachmann to sweeper and had Carolyn Schmid join Paulus to double-team Rieser.
"That's there go-to player," Senisi said. "If we shut down her we'd have a good chance of shutting down their offense."
Meanwhile, Centennial's opportunistic offense was at it again. The Eagles (13-6) took only five shots in the game, three in the first half, but scored on their first two.
Centennial's Jane Williams took the ball down the right sideline and crossed it into the middle. Fellow senior Stacie Tokasz controlled it, and the ball bounced toward Maggie Via who left-footed it in.
Hammond, which had won three of its four playoff games in shootouts, needed no dramatics yesterday in the Class 1A state championship game against Williamsport.
Instead, all the fourth-ranked Golden Bears (17-1-1) did was score. And score. And score some more.
Junior forward Katie Fink found the net six minutes into the game, and Hammond was on its way to a 6-0 victory over the Wildcats of Washington County at North County High School.
"This is great," said Hammond goalkeeper Lindsey Mitchell, who, with two other teammates, left immediately for Raleigh, N.C., where her club team was playing in a tournament. "We had to go through a lot to get here. We had four close ones."
Hammond opened the playoffs with a shootout win over Oakland Mills, then beat Glenelg, 1-0. In the South Region final against Hereford, the Golden Bears tied the game with under two minutes, then won a shootout. In last week's state semifinal, Hammond outshot Snow Hill, 34-4, but didn't score and needed a goal by Mitchell to win the shootout, 7-6.
"I was tired of all that tension," Fink said. "I couldn't take it anymore."
Said Hammond coach Peter Di Marco: "We knew we could beat them. The key for us was to score first."
Fink, who came off the bench in every game this season but the final two, collected a nice through pass from junior midfielder Martha Bielefeld and scored left-footed from 20 yards into an open net.
Michelle Jenkins scored her team-high 11th goal of the season 9: 33 into the game and Hammond was on its way. Freshman Melissa Workman, whose late goals against Oakland Mills and Herford sent those playoff games into overtime, scored twice in the last 13 minutes of the half to gave Hammond a 4-0 halftime lead.
Pub Date: 11/22/98