Westminster makes third time the charm

Sudden-death win avenges two straight state losses to Whitman, gains final

Class 4A field hockey

High Schools

November 06, 2001|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Westminster' Emily Chamelin ended two years of frustration with a thud yesterday.

That was the sound that emanated from her day-glo orange goalie pads as she blocked a bouncing penalty stroke to her right off the stick of Whitman's Liz Sheppard, giving the Owls a Class 4A field hockey win on sudden-death penalty strokes and sending them to their first state final since 1997.

Westminster had lost to Whitman (15-3), the Washington area's No. 7 team, in the semifinals each of the past two years, both times in penalty strokes. This time , however, Chamelin stopped six of the seven uncontested shots from seven yards in front, making a goal by the Owls' Lauren Hart - who beat Vikings goalie Katie Kaplan low and to her right - stand up.

"I was totally confident," Chamelin said. "We've been practicing these this year, and just being there two other years, I wasn't worried. In the years before I had a little bit of nervousness and I was tense. This year I didn't feel any of that."

The Owls (11-3-1) advance to Friday's 2:30 Class 4A title game at Goucher's new Gopher Stadium, where they will face Quince Orchard, which defeated Chesapeake, also on penalty strokes, in the other semifinal.

The Owls had to outlast powerful Whitman, which outshot them by 10-7 in taking a 1-0 lead 10:42 into the game when Julia Sivon scored from five yards on the right side following a free hit.

Ten minutes later, after coming up empty on four straight penalty corners, Westminster tied it when Lydia Eppig scored off a free hit from in front.

Both teams had prime scoring chances, but a defensive play by Owls senior Shannan Finch kept the game tied in the first overtime. A shot headed toward the cage got past Chamelin, but Finch stepped into the goal mouth and blocked it.

"It was right at the post and there was a girl right there, so I just knew I had to hit it out," Finch said.

After two scoreless 10-minute overtimes, the game went into penalty strokes, where each team takes five shots. Only Whitman's Lauren Swegle and Westminster's Ali Bates connected, which meant a sudden-death round.

"I just felt like it was last year all over again," Hart said.

Whitman and Westminster missed their first strokes of the sudden death. Then Hart, wielding a stick she calls "Stevie," sent a bouncing shot to the back of the cage. Chamelin stopped Whitman's next shot, and the Owls had victory.

"I don't believe in luck. When you get that far ... it's just who can stroke better at that moment," Owls coach Judie Puckett said.

"I really thought that if we got to strokes, this would go in our favor," Whitman coach Mary Pat Veihmeyer said. "This is the best set of strokers I've ever had, and yet only one of them got it in. You just never can tell what the pressure is going to do to them."

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