Lions take control of long-time rival in second half; Mowbray, Proefrock and Winner score
by James Peters
Special to VSN
Normally, when the Dulaney High and Hereford field hockey teams meet, the stakes are high, namely, the Baltimore County championship.
The same could not be said when the two teams took the field Wednesday evening in Hereford, but it did mark the return of field hockey for the two perennial county heavyweights with the 2020 fall campaign canceled because of COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re just super excited to have this time together, whether it’s a short season or not,” said first-year Dulaney coach Meredith Lott, who was once the junior varsity coach with a Hereford program that has produced nine varsity state titles. “Super, super excited.”
Lott could say the same about her feelings on her team’s performance Wednesday as the Lions turned a hard-fought 1-0 halftime lead into a commanding 3-0 victory behind goals from Ava Winner, Emily Mowbray, and the hard-charging Kate Proefrock during or shortly after three of the nearly 20 penalty corners the squad generated in the match that now features four 15-minute quarters with neither team afforded a timeout.
“One of the focuses this season is corners, so I would say that we practice corners and try to perfect them every single day, so as you could see from the score today and how we scored, it’s really something we pride ourselves on,” Lott said. “It was awesome.”
Dulaney, which has reached the state Class 4A final the last three seasons, including falling to 24-time state champion Severna Park in 2019, opened up its slender first half lead on a pass from Carmen Roy to Winner shortly following a penalty corner with the ball quickly being slipped back into the scoring circle and to the stick of Roy.
She then slipped a pass that somehow found its way through heavy traffic in front of the goal to an wide-open Winner, who guided the ball into the back of the cage from the right post with 1 minute, 54 seconds left in the first half.
“Dulaney always comes out hot and they’re always tough competition,” Hereford coach Caitlin Duvall said. “That’s what makes it a great rivalry. Today, they had underhand (but playing again is) refreshing. I definitely missed the girls. They definitely enjoy being together.”
Mowbray and Proefrock essentially put the match out of reach with a pair of goals during a dominating third quarter for the Lions. Mowbray crushed in a shot from the middle part of the circle less than three minutes into the second half during a corner. Mowbray then hooked up with Proefrock during another corner and like Mowbray, Proefrock, who dominated the midfield and constantly put pressure on the Bulls, belted a hard bounding shot that rattled the back of the cage.
Emily Redding had a chance to get Hereford on the scoreboard with 2:42 left in the third quarter, but her penalty stroke was denied by Dulaney goalkeeper Allie Mercer, who swatted away the high shot to her right.
“We’ve really been focusing on corners in practice and I feel like we are really implementing them well,” Mowbray said. ““It’s really, really exciting to be back and having our first game against Hereford, (which) really brings the competition. It’s a big rivalry for us.”