Long Reach clinches county title in 1-0 win

Glenelg is the victim as Epperson gets goal on assist from Baker

Field hockey

High Schools

October 19, 2001|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Long Reach really didn't need too much to get itself psyched up for yesterday's county title-clinching field hockey game against Glenelg.

A team breakfast at Jack's Restaurant and a viewing of the movie "Remember The Titans" almost seemed like overkill for the regular season's last game.

The 1-0 victory gave the 6-year-old school its second county field hockey title (first outright) and a fourth straight season of significant accomplishment. In two other seasons, the Lightning made it to the state finals.

"This win means that our program has achieved a level of consistency," said Lightning coach Kelly Snyder. "This team has a great work ethic and took itself to heights I never would have expected."

Despite one of Long Reach's poorest offensive efforts of the season, there was never much doubt which team would win yesterday. Long Reach (12-2, 8-1 league) wanted it too much.

Chelsea Capp of Glenelg (7-5-2, 5-3-1) nearly scored on a beautiful fast break in the opening minutes. And Glenelg's Sabrina Putro missed a penalty stroke with 4:19 left in the first half.

But this was meant to be Long Reach's day.

"I think my heart is still out there," said Long Reach's Katie Baker. "Everything we had went into this game. Everything we worked for has paid off."

Baker's assist to Sherry Epperson led to the Lightning's only goal with 25:15 left in the first half. It was Baker's fourth assist and Epperson's seventh goal this season.

"Winning this game, and River Hill losing [to Mt. Hebron on Tuesday] were the two best days of the year," said Epperson.

Until that Mt. Hebron win, Long Reach thought it had lost its chance for a county title.

"We played just well enough today to win," Snyder said. "Our passing was flat, and we lacked the instinct we usually have. But the defense and midfield stepped up. Katie Baker played very offensively for a center back and kept pushing it over the 50. And Jordan Swayne, our left back, was phenomenal slowing their fast break."

Glenelg graduated its entire county championship team from last season, so coach Ginger Kincaid was pleased with how well this team has developed.

"It was a matter of inches on a couple of things today," she said.

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