Hereford's Jessica Karwacki (left) and Shannon Martello… (Brian Krista, Patuxent…)
No. 5 Hereford used the same winning formula of strong defense, timely scoring and fluid transition in the midfield on its way to capturing a fourth straight Baltimore County field hockey championship Thursday night.
The Bulls (12-0) scored a goal in each half to defeat No. 12 Dulaney (8-5) 2-0 at Landsdowne High School.
It was the Bulls' third straight victory over the Lions in the county final.
Junior Mary Claire Abbott scored the first goal with a tick under 12 minutes left in the first half.
Abbott didn't start the game because she missed practice when she was sick. But she proved she could finish after getting tangled up with Dulaney's Kenzie Brown just outside the circle.
"I was pretty fired up, and I tried to go in and [Brown] blocked it," Abbott said. "I knew I didn't have much time, and I just ripped it from the top."
Abbott, the Hereford's leading scorer, also had the game-winning goal in last year's 1-0 championship victory.
"I told her it would be like our secret weapon and she would sit out for five minutes, and I figured they would be marking her after five minutes anyway," Hereford coach Tammy Mundie said.
Dulaney's best scoring chance in the first half came with 4:40 left, when Brown set up a shot that was blocked by senior defender Kathleen Hillberg.
"She had a phenomenal game tonight," Mundie said. "She almost single-handedly shut down Dulaney on defense. Her tackles were so clean."
Hereford built the lead to 2-0 less than six minutes into the second half when senior Jessica Karwacki started a penalty corner and ended it by slamming in the rebound.
Hereford relied on solid midfield play from Shannon Martello and Rennie Tankersley and a defense that included goalie Missy Betsill and senior defenders Caroline Clancy and Katie Stuller and junior Caitlin Abbott.
Stuller came off the bench and saved a potential goal after a nice connection from Dulaney's Jamie Roth to Brown to Samantha Thibeault following a penalty corner with 13 minutes left.
Hereford has won 13 of the past 16 county titles, while Dulaney was shooting for its second championship since 2006.
"I can't be prouder," Mundie said. "They stepped up today against a really nice team."