Overmatched Long Reach bows in state final to Fallston, 1-0

Cougars defend title, dominate Lightning

Class 3A field hockey

High schools

November 14, 1999|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

The game was minutes away from starting, but Long Reach already was in trouble. And coach Kelly Snyder knew it.

Long Reach and Fallston players stood in the center of the field as the National Anthem played prior to yesterday's Class 3A state field hockey final at Goucher College. When the music stopped, Fallston players sprinted toward the spectator's sideline where their orange-clad supporters gave them a rousing ovation.

"My legs locked at that moment," Snyder said. "I could feel the edge that they had on [our] team. The girls were like, `What's going on.' It took us out a little bit of our game."

Said Long Reach senior Jessica Burkhardt: "That was a little intimidating."

Fallston successfully defended its state title with a 1-0 decision in a game that wasn't that close. The seventh-ranked Cougars (15-3) dominated, and had a 13-1 advantage in penalty corners and a 15-2 edge in shots.

Experience played a big part. No. 8 Long Reach (13-3-2), which didn't win a game in 1996 when the school opened, was making its first trip to the state tournament. Fallston has been in the tournament 11 times, including the last seven, and has eight titles.

"They controlled the field from how they walked on it to where they stood," Snyder said. "They knew what to do. They had the whole system down and that was a big edge on us. That had a big affect on the game."

Fallston had nine penalty corners and 10 shots in the first half. Long Reach had nothing.

"We were a little nervous," Burkhardt said, "and all their nervousness, obviously, was out of their system."

Amanda Novak's goal with 2: 45 left in the half off an assist from Kelly Biedermann was all Fallston needed, and thanks to Lightning goalie Jaye Lance's stop of a second-half penalty stroke that's all the Cougars got.

Long Reach had defeated Fallson, 1-0, Sept. 14. In that game, the Lightning scored early on a breakaway and held on despite being outplayed in the second half. Yesterday, Fallston never let Long Reach into the game.

"They were quicker to the ball," Burkhardt said. "They were anticipating everything and we were waiting for everything."

Added Burkhardt about the poor offensive effort: "We weren't on today, so we couldn't finish what we were trying to do."

Snyder said it was unfortunate that her team "played very flat," in the state final. But weigh that disappointment against the success of this season, and Snyder knows how special this year was.

"To take county and regional titles and to make it to the state final is a big accomplishment," said Snyder, who will lose eight seniors that have been on the team four years. "We have to be happy with that, and it gives us something to work on for future years. We made it, now we need to finish it the next time we get there."

Losing six senior starters will make returning here more difficult.

"It's going to take a lot of work, but this team got here from a lot of work," Snyder said. "These girls had never played hockey before. We can do it again.

Added Snyder: "If you work hard dreams can come true. We set out a few years ago saying we weren't going to get pushed around any more and do what it took to be hockey players. They proved it and got here."

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