Fallston surprises No. 2 Severna Park

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

3A East field hockey regional

High Schools

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. Two scoreless overtime periods followed, necessitating a penalty stroke round in which each team gets five shots.

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

"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.

With her team down 2-0, Severna Park's Lily Jefferds (15 goals, seven assists) a strong shot left, but Winkler snuffed it to secure victory.

"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."

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