MPSSAA field hockey state championships previews

November 10, 2011|By Sandra McKee

Following is a glance at the field hockey state finals to be played Saturday at Washington College.

Class 2A

When: 11 a.m.

Who: No. 1 Glenelg (17-1) vs. Poolesville (13-1)

Outlook: The Gladiators have had a target on their back all season. The defending 2A champs started the season ranked No. 1 and hold he top spot going in to the final against Poolesville. The Indians earned their way to the match with a double-overtime decision against No. 5 Century on Wednesday night.

Glenelg coach Ginger Kincaid said her team can't "sneak up on anyone," but the Gladiators have been strong under pressure. They have a strong circle attack that "pounds the ball" from all positions, which is a good thing, Kincaid said, because Poolesville has a strong circle defense and goalie (Amy Defnet).

The Gladiators have been toughened for the final by playing Howard County rivals. Glenelg hasn’t lost a county game in four years. Kincaid said that means every team they play brings its best game. Glenelg features a strong offense that scored 148 goals this season. Senior Alyssa Parker has 36 of them.

Poolesville, like Glenelg, has one state championship (2002).

Class 3A

When: 1:30 p.m.

Who: No. 6 Westminster (15-3) vs. No. 15 Mount Hebron (13-5)

Outlook: This matchup features two teams with diverse histories. The Owls are returning to the state finals for the 13th time, in search of their eighth championship – the most recent coming last year when they completed a perfect season. The Vikings have been to the finals three times, but not since 2001, and they’ve never won the title.

Mount Hebron has speed and balanced scoring, with sophomore Tienna Wallpher (18 goals, 11 assists), junior Haley Sutton (14 goals, 8 assists) and senior Emily Bishop (12 goals, 2 assists), leading the way. Defensively, the Vikings are also strong, with Madison Fisher, a junior, in goal. Through four games in the post season they’ve allowed just two goals.

Westminster, a skillful passing team, is anchored on offense by senior Meghan Macera (14 goals, 13 assists) and sophomore Maddy Walsh (12 goals, 7 assists). Freshman goalie Hailey Poisal has stopped 62 of 73 shots. Like her Mt. Hebron counterpart, she’s also allowed just two goals in the playoffs.   

Class 4A

When: 4 p.m.

Who: No. 3 Severna Park (16-2) vs. Bethesda-Chevy Chase (13-3)

Outlook: Severna Park already holds the record for state titles (19) and trips to the final (25),  but the Falcons missed playing in the championship game last year. That might not sound like a long time to a lot of teams, but to Severna Park, who had been to the title game six straight years before and won five of them, it seemed like forever.

Now, with junior Marrissa Balleza and her teammates focused on rounding the title number up to 20, the Falcons will be a big obstacle for Bethesda-CC. Especially since Balleza has said time and again, the only goal the team has is the state title. And coach Lil Shelton, the only coach Severna Park has ever had, has said her team “always wins when it counts”

But the Falcons aren’t unknown to the Barons. And the Barons have a storied history of their own. BCC has 13 state crowns, and this is the Barons' 20th trip to the final match, so they’re not awed by Severna Park’s legacy.

This game is also a rematch. The two played in the Sally Nyborg Invitational at Roland Park, where Severna Park won, 3-0.

The Barons are led by sophomore Lizzie Orr (15 goals).

Class 1A

When: 6:30 p.m.

Who: No. 9  Fallston (13-2) vs. Pocomoke (15-3)

Outlook: Fallston coach Megan Grant knows Pocomoke "brings a lot to the game" in terms of history and talent. The Warriors have won eight straight titles and 18 all together. But Grant’s Cougars have had an excellent season.

Fallston’s strength will be it’s teamwork, it’s balanced scoring attack and, said Grant, the fact "we bring a lot of heart." Fallston has five players with five or more goals, including leaders Danielle McDiarmid (13 goals, 8 assists) and Jordan Wagner (7 goals, 6 assists). In goal will be junior Kristina Baker, who has started the last nine games, stopping 40 shots while letting in just six. The Cougars also get strong midfield play from Jenna Mosketti, a senior.

Pocomoke is coached by Susan Pusey, who won her 300th game with Wednesday’s semifinal. Pusey stresses hard work. This is the team’s ninth straight trip to the finals, which ties the state record held by Bethesda-Chevy Chase (1994-2002). The Warriors  feature a spread attack and stress their passing game.

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