Westminster closes out perfect season with title

River Hill, Glenelg, Pokomoke also win championships

November 13, 2010|By Sandra McKee, The Baltimore Su

CHESTERTOWN — No. 3 Westminster can now put its 4A field hockey state championship trophy and the perfect 19-0 record that goes with it on display with pride and satisfaction because the No. 11 Dulaney Lions made them earn it, 5-4, in overtime Saturday on the turf field at Washington College.

It was the first of four championship games Saturday and set the stage with the kind of title game players and coaches dream of, with both sides competing at their best and leaving nothing to regret.

"I told my team to just dig down deep and don't stop until the whistle blows," said Westminster coach Mary Rivera. "They kept digging and I'm surprised no one collapsed. They just wouldn't give up."

When Meghan Macera (two goals) scored the game-winner with 1:56 left in overtime, she felt a mixture of surprise and delight.

"I saw I had open room and I just put my head down and swung," said the junior. "I was surprised to see the open lane because they'd been covering us so well. But though it was a scary moment when they took that (4-3) lead in regulation, I never thought we were going to lose. This has been our goal all year."

This is Westminster's seventh state title, but its first since 2001. The Owls are the only perfect team in the state this season.

To reach perfection, Westminster rallied after seeing a 3-1 lead evaporate due to an amazing effort by Dulaney (12-6). The Lions roared back with three goals, two of them within 82 seconds of each other, to take the lead with 7:03 to play.

Dulaney senior Sarah George, who scored 10 goals in her previous two playoff games, had three more Saturday, and Abigail Sprinkel added one. Goalie Elizabeth Schaeffler made 12 saves, including one on a penalty stroke, to give the Lions a chance.

"To be up by a goal at that point (with two minutes left in regulation) in the game, yes, it's sad to lose," said Dulaney coach Kendra Whaley, smiling. "However, we played an excellent game. All our heart and desire was left on the field today. To be here, to take the lead and take Westminster to overtime, that's success for us."

3A: No. 13 River Hill 1, No. 14 North Harford 0

No one knew when River Hill junior midfielder Pauline Shih scored on a penalty stroke with four minutes left in the first half that she was making history. But that's the way it turned out as River Hill won the first field hockey championship in its 14-year history, beating North Harford for the 3A state title.

It was No. 13 River Hill's first trip to the title game.

"I was just hoping not to miss the net," said Shih. "I practice this all the time. But when I was shooting it I wasn't thinking about it being a state championship game. Then it was like I made history."

Shih was awarded the shot when a North Harford player accidently kicked the ball while inside the circle.

"The penalty stroke was the difference," said North Harford coach Katie Simms, "but our defense was fantastic. The game was very well played by both sides and I'm pleased with the effort my team put forth. This is the furthest we've come in a long time."

No. 14 North Harford (10-6), who won its only championship in 1975 and was back in the title game for the first time since then, controlled most of the first half, played strong defense throughout, but couldn't overcome its one mistake that set up he game-winning stroke.

River Hill made sure of that, dominating most of the play in the second half with the help of junior defender Katie Woolls. While some of her teammates were nervous, Woolls chewed her gum, blew bubbles and kept North Harford's leading scorer Kara Parks in check.

"Katie has been a rock for us all season," said River Hill coach Shelly Chamness, whose team finished 15-4. "And our goalie Beth Genovese (7 saves) was calm, too. She made a huge kick save. This is like a dream. If you're going to coach, this is the game you want to win."

2A: No. 1 Glenelg 2, No. 6 Century 1

After 34 years, Glenelg field hockey coach Ginger Kincaid found out what it's like to hold up the championship trophy when her No. 1 Gladiators held on to win the 2A state title with a 2-1 victory over No. 6 Century.

"We've been here in the state playoffs many, many times," said Kincaid, her eyes moist after her team improved its record to 19-1. "We've been to the final game, but getting over the last couple games is so tough. Tonight, I'm so thrilled that we won and that River Hill won. Two Howard County teams, state champions. It really puts Howard County back in the forefront."

Glenelg's goals were scored by Meagan Guthrie and Stephanie Asher, both off assists by Alyssa Parker, who leads the team is assists (38) and goals (38).

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