S. River blanks Churchill, hits state final

Field Hockey

High Schools


The South River field hockey team, defending Class 4A state champion, knew early last night against Winston Churchill that it would be in for a test.

The No. 4 Seahawks spent most of the first five minutes defending their circle before finding their way down to the other side and scoring.

The prep time in their end proved to be good practice.

Holding off the Bulldogs' final-minute rush, the Seahawks survived a 1-0 semifinal win to earn the chance to defend their state crown. The Seahawks (15-3-1) will meet the winner of tomorrow's semifinal between C. Milton Wright and Springbrook.

The state championship game is set for 7 p.m. Monday at the University of Maryland.

The Seahawks got a goal from Melissa Bierley with 23:37 left in the first half and protected the lead from there. The goal took place on a penalty corner with the ball sent to the top to Molly Gregoire, who pushed it to the middle, where Bierley poked it home.

After an evenly played game the rest of the way, the Bulldogs (12-4) came on strong in the closing minutes, but the Seahawks' defense held.

Sophomore goalie Virginia Jorden finished with seven saves with strong play also coming from senior Kelly Patterson, junior Heather Bresnahan and sophomore Hope Battista.

"You'd always rather have a bigger lead, but this keeps you motivated and pumped up," Patterson said. "The same group has been playing together awhile, and we all just trust each other and back each other up."

Jorden's toughest save came with 2:30 left, when Churchill senior Amanda Saber fired a shot from the top of the circle that was kicked away. On the ensuing penalty corner, Natalie Smotkin had a chance on the left side that was defended well by Battista.

"The defense was superb, and Jorden was amazing. It was two fantastic teams and all 60 minutes were played well," South River first-year coach Katie Corcoran said. "Virginia is a first-year goalie, so we wanted to be very strong defensively [this year]. They worked together well, know where each other are going to be, replace each other well, and all have great sticks."


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