Hereford can't find victory trail vs. Rising Sun

Bulls unable to overcome first 2-0 deficit, lose, 2-1

Class 2A field hockey championship

High Schools

November 09, 2003|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - In yesterday's Class 2A state championship against Rising Sun, Hereford's field hockey team found itself trailing by two goals for the first time all season.

"It's kind of an emotion thing," Hereford senior Samantha Sebastian said. "You've got to realize you want the game and you've got to do what it takes."

The No. 6 Bulls nearly pulled it off.

After Mary Wittelsberger scored with 1:52 left in the game, the Bulls continued to attack, but their last chance, on a corner play, came up short.

Rising Sun defender Steph Ohrt made a stick save on Sebastian's drive from the top of the circle to preserve a 2-1 victory for her Cecil County team to win the first of two state championship games played on turf at the University of Maryland's Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex.

The Bulls (17-2-1) had started out strong, controlling the ball in the early minutes, but the Tigers (13-4) managed three shots on three corners. One went wide, goalie Mandy Polley saved one and Emily Smith's shot hit the post.

After that, the Tigers, who shared the 1A title last fall, gained momentum and were more aggressive to the ball than the Baltimore County champions.

"They were just real passive out there," said Hereford coach Tammy Mundie of her players. "They never consistently stepped up in front of the ball to take charge. It was more like waiting for it, thinking every pass was going to come to them."

Instead, Tigers forward Nicole Allaband took the ball to the goal. With 8:04 left in the first half, Allaband carried the ball into the circle and shot past a defender and Polley inside the far post for a 1-0 lead.

The Tigers struck again on a corner play midway through the second half. Kristen Miller nailed a shot from the top of the circle off a corner pass from Whitney Madron to make it 2-0.

Hereford had a couple of narrow misses early in the half when goalie Niki Johnson stopped successive shots from Becky Sebastian and her sister Samantha Sebastian.

The Bulls finally broke through with 1:52 left in the game when Krista Wisner sent a long ball into the circle and Wittelsberger deflected it into the cage.

After that, "everybody worked as hard as they could. Everybody gave 110 percent," forward Brianna Ryan said. "We just needed a little more time."

In the waning seconds, Johnson saved a shot by Courtney Nelson before Ohrt made the key defensive stand against the corner to finish off the Bulls.

Rising Sun's top scorer, Ashly Meehan, said the Tigers felt relieved to hold off the Bulls through the final seconds.

"They came out saying they could do it. They had faith in themselves," said Meehan, of the Bulls' final push. "We knew that we were going to have to want it more to win the game. They did take us by surprise, scoring that goal, and that last corner was really scary."

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