Defending state champ Seahawks drop Churchill; Lions get over semifinal hump (VIDEO HERE!!)

by Donald Daniels

It will be an all-Baltimore area showdown in the Class 4A state field hockey final as South River High and Dulaney punched their ticket with state semifinal victories Monday evening at Broadneck’s Lawrence E. Knight Stadium.

The defending state champ Seahawks got out to a big first half lead and knocked off Montgomery County’s Churchill 3-0, while the Lions edged out Clarksburg from Montgomery County, 2-0. The victors will faceoff Saturday at 11 a.m. at Washington College for the state championship.

It took a bit of time, but South River (12-6 overall) settled in and clicked on all cylinders. The Anne Arundel County squad scored three first half goals against a Churchill (15-1) squad who had only given up four goals heading into Monday.

Morgan Lee broke the stalemate when slapped the ball in the right corner of the cage for a 1-0 lead at the 19-minute mark.

“Churchill is a really athletic team, so for us to match up to that was really nice to see,” South River coach Megan Atkinson said. “I know they had only had four goals scored on them all season, so getting that first goal was huge

The Seahawks doubled the lead four minutes later with a goal from Jacqueline Venable-Croft.

“The ball went by me a couple times earlier, and I knew that it always comes from the right side, so I just needed to get my stick down,” Venable-Croft said. “Everybody else’s intensity was up, and that kept mine up the whole time as well.”

Allison Corey join the act and tallied to push the advantage to 3-0 for the Edgewater school with 10 minute left in the first half off an penalty corner from Caroline Kerr.

“I have not been nailing my corners all year, so it felt good to do that,” Corey said. “We needed to focus on keeping our feet moving like we have in practice and incorporating what we have been doing all year into the game, and I think we did that very well.”

South River took 10 shots on goal while Churchill mustered just one in the opening 30 minutes. Churchill was able to generate several corner chances in the second half, but the Seahawks’ defense bottled up the Bulldogs to secure a return trip to the state final.

It was a breakthrough for Dulaney (18-1), which lost to state semifinal round the previous three seasons. The Baltimore County school is headed to the state final for the third time.

“Them, getting past this game is big for so many reasons,” Dulaney coach Kellie Fialcowitz said. “Some of them have been here and they have been the ones crying at the end of it and they just weren’t going to do it and they didn’t quit.”

Seniors Maggie Kelly and Casey O’Grady each chipped in a goal against Clarksburg (15-2-1).

O’Grady put the Lions on the board eight minutes into the contest when she scored on a break away goal as Clarksburg goalie Jamie Fritz tried to block the shot by coming a few front away from the cage. That small opening proved to be more than enough for O’Grady to streak the ball into the back of the cage.

“It was all a blur. It just came to me,” said O’Grady. “That was an insane goal. I just want to keep it going into the next game.”

The Lions second tally when Kelly when she redirected a long drive sent in to the box by O’Grady with 22:19 left in the second half.

Dulaney freshman goalie Allie Mercer made eight saves to preserve the win for the Lions, who lost to South River in last year’s state semifinal.

“They are excited to see South River again,” Fialcowitz said.