Owls aim to avoid a repeat of history

Whitman, which defeated Westminster in state semis in '99, '00, is again the foe

Class 4A field hockey

High Schools

November 04, 2001|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

For Westminster goalie Emily Chamelin, there's no diluting the importance of tomorrow's game against Walt Whitman at Goucher College. And not just because it happens to be the Class 4A state field hockey semifinal.

After losing to the Montgomery County power on penalty strokes each of the past two years, this one carries extra meaning.

"That's kind of my personal goal -- if we beat Whitman, I'll be happy," Chamelin said. "I want to win states really bad, but Whitman is my big goal. I really want to take them this year."

The 12:30 p.m. game will mark the sixth time in seven years the teams have met in the semifinals. Last season, the Owls entered the game ranked No. 6 in the area but lost in the penalty stroke round, 3-1, despite Chamelin's 18 saves.

After suffering heartbreak two years in a row, the Owls (10-3-1) -- making their 15th trip to the semifinals since 1983, and 17th overall -- have put a premium on scoring early.

"It would really give us a lift," Chamelin said. "We played two years in a row against this team, and we saw how it felt to keep trying and trying and not being able to get anywhere. Going into overtimes and going into stroke periods -- it's just that frustration. If we get a goal, we'll know that we can do this."

Said Owls coach Judie Puckett. "I think the fact that they've beaten us two years in a row, same exact way, gives us extra motivation. If we can score early, put the pressure on early and get the intensity up early, that can only work in our favor."

That's especially so against a team on a recent scoring slump.

Case in point: Whitman (15-2) held a 17-1 advantage in shots and an 11-3 edge in penalty corners, but still needed overtime to defeat Wootton in the regional semifinals.

"They're still in a little bit of a funk," said Whitman coach Mary Pat Veihmeyer, whose team went on to beat Magruder, 2-0, in the regional final. "They did better [Thursday] than they did the game before. But sometimes that has to do with the team you're playing. I'm not sure if that's what it is or we're just not in the right place."

After losing to Severna Park in the finals each of the past two seasons, the Vikings seemingly got a break this season when the Falcons were dropped to Class 3A. The got another boost when South River, last year's 3A champion now in 4A, lost in regionals.

For Westminster, however, an early goal or two could make all of that irrelevant. If the game should happen to go to penalty strokes for a third straight year, however, this time the Owls might have the edge.

"Having to do it for two years in a row, I know what to expect," Chamelin said. "If I get there I'm ready, mentally."

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