Mustangs advance to the 3A field hockey state final with semifinal wins at Urbana
When No. 3 Chesapeake-AA (14-2) and No. 5 C. Milton Wright (17-1) collide on Saturday evening (6:30 p.m.) at Washington College for a Class 3A state field hockey championship, something has to give.
Both powerhouses tuned up for the showdown with impressive wins in a semifinal doubleheader at Paint Branch High School in Montgomery County on Monday night.
The Cougars topped Blake, 3-1, and the Mustangs whitewashed Urbana, 5-0.
Chesapeake did not wait very long to make its presence felt against the Bengals (13-4) from Montgomery County.
The defending state champs took just six minutes to produce the first goal and then added two more before halftime to advance to the championship for the second straight year.
Chesapeake coach Joan Johnson was beaming after the win, praising the Cougars for handling their business in such an efficient manner.
“The girls have responded to everything we have taught them,” Johnson said. “They really had their sights set on going back to Chestertown (where the finals will be held at Washington College).”
Senior Logan Beal, a defender by position but a dangerous attacker when it comes to scoring, notched the first goal off a feed from Rachel Fleig on a penalty corner for a 1-0 advantage.
The center defender totaled six goals in a 4-0 win over Mount Hebron and and a 4-1 triumph over J.M. Bennett in the Cougars’ two previous playoff encounters.
“We did a really good job of getting the ball down the sidelines and into the circle for corners,” Beal, an American University field hockey commit, said about maneuvering against Blake.
She and her defensive mates, senior Riley Sullivan and junior Leah Evans, playing in front of sophomore goalie Eve Vickery, were just as dominant.
“We only gave up a penalty stroke (to Sabrina Simpson), so the defense played really well. We did a great job of playing together.”
Beal’s younger sister, Eryn, notched the third goal to follow up one by Mason Frechtel. Both goals were assisted by Fleig, giving her three for the game.
Blake coach Patrick Howley said that nerves may have played a part in his team falling behind in the opening half.
“I thought we were a little tight early,” he said. “But we put some pressure on them in the second half.”
Yet the Bengals were thwarted a couple of times, including a save by senior goalie Alexis Wade on a point-blank shot by junior Jordan Pack.
“Those are the ones you have to put away, and we didn’t,” Howley said.
C. Milton Wright (17-1) also built a 3-0 halftime lead and then came up with two more goals in the second period against the Hawks (16-1-1) from Frederick County.
Five different Mustangs — Georgia Beachley, Savannah Gray, Taylor Marchetti, Emily Cowie and Jill Baldwin — had goals, four of which were assisted.
And at the other end, Sophie Carlson led the defense with fellow seniors Kelsey Goetz and Jessica Berry and junior Ellie Muffley also patrolling the backline.
They did such a good job that senior goalie Diana Borg did not have to make any saves.
“Sophie has been a dominant player for us all season,” C. Milton Wright coach Kellie Mattingly said. “She holds down the middle like it’s her home.”
Mattingly said the speed of the game worked to Wright’s advantage.
“We knew they were a fast-paced team and we’re a fast-paced team, too,” she said. “We like it up-tempo.”
Urbana, which had its 16-game winning streak snapped, had given up only 11 goals all season and shut out 10 of its opponents.
Those gaudy numbers did not faze the Mustangs, who also own a 16-game winning streak and whose only loss this season was to No. 1 Notre Dame Prep in early September.
“Those first two goals set the tone for them,” Urbana coach Molly Stuart said. “And their defense was able to step in front of us. They took away our ability to play our game.”
(AT PAINT BRANCH HIGH SCHOOL)