What a difference a month and a half has made for Dulaney High’s field hockey team. The No. 13 Lions earned their first trip to the state finals since 1986 with a thorough 7-0 shellacking of Montgomery County’s Magruder in a Class 4A semifinal at Franklin’s McWilliams Stadium.

Since starting October with losses to then-defending Class 3A champ and Baltimore County league rival Hereford and Anne Arundel powerhouse and No. 5 South River, Dulaney (12-5 overall) has won seven of its last eight matches, outscoring its opponents, 43-3.

In four postseason games, the Lions have outscored their opponents, 23-1.

“Scoring – we’re finally making those connections and that’s really the biggest thing in hockey is finding each other’s stick and not being worn down,” said Lions coach Kendra Whaley. “If we find each other’s sticks, we’re not running as much. It’s beautiful to watch that.”

Senior attacker Sarah George found the back of the cage five times against Magruder (14-4), including a trio of goals in the second half, to lead Lions into Saturday’s 4A state final against Westminster (18-0). The contest is slated for 1:30 p.m. at Washington College in Chestertown.

Westminster upended five-time defending champion Severna Park, 4-1, in the other semifinal contest Wednesday. The Owls have won six state crowns; the last coming in 2001. Dulaney is looking for its first state championship.

Emily Edington and Haeley McGuire“Honestly, we came out a lot stronger and faster than I thought we would,” George said. “Our coach told us to go straight to balls, to get possession. That was really key but honestly, we weren’t really covered up in the circle so there were a lot of opportunities for goals and we just took them.”

George (20 goals this season) sandwiched her first two scores around a goal by Abby Sprinkel (8 goals) for a 3-0 lead a little less than 12 minutes into the contest. Sydney Baker added another score with 5:06 left in the first half for a commanding 4-0 halftime lead.

“They beat us to every ball,” Magruder coach Kathleen Mulholland said. “They played a great game. We just felt a little slow today but even then, they had a few more wheels than we did. That’s what it was. We played a solid game.

They had more depth than we had. I can’t say more than that or I’d be lying.”