Fallston turns aside No. 2 Severna Park

Winkler helps Cougars win on penalty strokes, advance to state semis

3A East field hockey regional

November 02, 2001|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Before yesterday's Class 3A East field hockey regional final at Severna Park, Fallston coach Alice Puckett gave her players T-shirts emblazoned with "Field Hockey -- Anything can happen -- Believe in the Cougars."

What happened was Puckett's No. 11 Cougars, wearing those T-shirts underneath their orange jerseys, outscored second-ranked Severna Park, 2-0 in penalty strokes after a 2-2 double overtime, to advance to Monday's Class 3A state semifinals at Goucher College. Fallston will play Walter Johnson at 2:45 p.m.

Fallston (13-2-2) ended Severna Park's streak of 16 consecutive trips to the state final four and 20 overall in which they have won a Maryland state record 13 state titles under 27-year coach Lil Shelton. The Falcons (14-1-1) had won four straight Class 4A titles before moving down to 3A this season.

"Lil and I are really good friends, and we scrimmage every year, " said Puckett, who is in her 19th season at the Harford County school and has won eight state titles, second to Shelton among metro area coaches.

"When we scrimmaged them this summer, I felt we had more speed than they have. We were excited about the opportunity of coming here to play them. This was a huge win."

The "huge win" was mainly in part due to Cougars senior goalie Heather Winkler, who had two clutch saves during the five-player shootout and 10 saves overall.

Falcons sophomore Lauren Maranto scored with three seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 2 and force overtime. Two scoreless overtime periods followed, necessitating a penalty stroke round in which each team gets five shots.

Fallston needed only three shots as sophomore Kim Ziegler and Karen Silagyi scored; the Falcons scored no goals in four tries.

The Falcons' Lindsay Kin took the first shot, missing wide right. Ziegler gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead and Winkler made a hand save on Kelli Bowerman's shot. Severna Park goalie Michelle Swartz (13 saves) then blocked a shot by Chelsea Gebhardt.

Emily Swartz, the Falcons' leading scorer with 16 goals and 11 assists, missed wide left and Fallston's Silagyi scored on the ensuing turn to make it 2-0. With the pressure on Severna Park's Lily Jefferds (15 goals, seven assists), the latter made a strong shot left, but Winkler snuffed it.

"I said to my husband last night, my only fear is that Heather has never been in a shootout, but she is such a great athlete." said Puckett.

Winkler was ready.

"I just knew I could do it because we practice it over and over again, " said Winkler. "No matter what, we were going hard and all out."

Ziegler assisted Sarah Howley to give Fallston a 1-0 lead at the half, but Bowerman's goal off a corner from Jefferds tied it early in the second half. Silagyi's penalty stroke high into the left corner with 5:53 remaining in regulation put Fallston up, 2-1.

"It was nobody's fault, " said Shelton. "As a team we just didn't click."

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