In the battle of two defending state champion field hockey teams, it was Class 2A champ and No. 6 Fallston Cougars who came out victorious over No. 8 Hereford with a 2-0 win Friday.

“I thought [our girls] came out from the start really hard,” Fallston head coach Megan Grant said.  “They were beating them to a lot the balls out there and taking quick self starts and really hustling. It was a great game.”

While the two teams battled to a 0-0 halftime score, it was Fallston’s senior captain Christina Conrad who took point and brought the Cougar offense to score two goals in the second half.

“I thought the whole game we had pressure on their defense,” Conrad said, “but it was just that we knew we were going to score at some time, and it just had to happen one of the times.”

The first goal, coming off a goal-front scramble, was laced by Conrad just 3 minutes, 40 seconds into the second half, but the second was finessed six minutes later.

With her back to the goal and the defenders on both sides, Conrad used the back of her stick to lift the ball over the Bulls’ goalie and into the upper-right corner of the net for the 2-0 lead.

“I had [the ball] on my reverse stick so it was the only thing I thought of,” Conrad explained.

As the Fallston offense kept the pressure on throughout the game, earning nine corners to Hereford’s four and seven shots to its foe’s four, it was the orange and white defense that was the second half of the equation for the shutout.

“[The defense] really had to make sure that they were back and making sure on the offense that was up there,” said Cougar sophomore goalie Sarah DiMaggio. “They really did a great job of blocking up the hits and moving it out when we had free hits.”

Making four saves in the game, it was DiMaggio’s penalty save with 12 minutes left on the clock which sealed helped reach scoreless win for the Cougar defense.

“We have practiced strokes in practice and it is easier because I know my girls and where they like to go,” DiMaggio explained.  “But I wasn’t sure where she was going to go and it felt amazing to block it.”

Despite the nearly constant pressure from the Cougar offense, the Bulls did flirt with putting points on the board.

Hereford’s sophomore attack Lacey Aghazarian rang a shot at the goal early in the first half, leading to a scramble in front of the goal and a Fallston timeout, and junior goalie Missy Betsill showed great defensive heart when making two terrific saves from the ground late in the second half.

“I give it to Hereford,” Grant said.  “They played a great game. It is always a good game against them.”

Dealing Hereford its first loss of the season, Fallston will next play host to Elkton on Tuesday, while the Bulls look to bounce back against the North Harford Hawks at home on the same day.

“You know, we are just going to keep working hard and take it game by game,” said Grant.  “We have a really tough schedule ahead of us, and the girls just have to continue working hard in practice.” 

Fallston 2, Hereford 0

Fallston   0    2           2

Hereford 0    0           0

Goals: Fallston-Conrad (2). Saves: Hereford-Betsill 7; Fallston-DiMaggio 4.