No. 2 Towson wins county championship

Merrick's goal upends No. 12 Hereford for 1st county title since '95

Field hockey

High Schools

October 19, 2001|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

After Towson's Sam Merrick scored three goals Tuesday in her first game as a forward, Generals coach Holly West gave her a starting spot on the line for yesterday's Baltimore County Field Hockey Championship game.

Merrick didn't let her down.

The junior, who used to play midfield, scored the only goal of the game to lift the No. 2 Generals, 1-0, past No. 12 Hereford for their first county title since 1995.

The final score is deceptive, because host Towson (13-0-2) dominated. Only a terrific performance from Bulls goalie Christina Restivo kept the game from getting out of hand.

Restivo made 10 saves and had at least a half dozen critical clears as she faced 12 corners and 13 shots, including a penalty stroke.

To beat Restivo, the Generals were going to have to come up with a great shot - and Merrick did.

On a penalty corner, Merrick waited on the stroke line when the ball came across from Lucy Poole. As Restivo tried to make the split save, Merrick slipped the ball between the pads.

"I wasn't even thinking about [Restivo]," said Merrick. "I saw the ball coming, I had my stick on the ground and I swooped it in there."

Merrick had made West take notice after scoring three goals in a 4-0 win over Pikesville.

"When you do that once, in a game that's kind of lopsided, you always wonder," said West, "but when you can score a goal on the best goalie in the state, and [Restivo] is the best as far as I'm concerned, it's definitely legit."

With Merrick providing just enough scoring, the Generals' defense did the rest, posting its 12th shutout of the season.

Much of the time, defenders Natalie Murakoshi, Alley Firey, Hayley Mershon and Emily Kolarik kept the Bulls (8-3-2) pinned in their end of the field. When the Bulls did go on the attack, Towson gave them nothing in the circle.

The Bulls managed just one shot, in the final 6:30, but Murakoshi got her stick on Becky Sebastian's shot, slowing the ball enough for keeper Jessy Willse to step up and make the easy save.

"Their defense is amazing and that's the reason our passing wasn't working," said Bulls midfielder Sarah Tracey. "They had double walls, and once you got through one, there was always somebody else there."

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