Blazers pick up where they left off last year

by Nelson Coffin

Despite chilly temperatures and rain that came down in buckets at times, it was a beautiful day for No. 7 Notre Dame Prep at the 5th Annual Mustang Field Hockey Pre-season Invitational field hockey tourney at C. Milton Wright High School in Bel Air on Saturday.

That’s because the Blazers dominated both of their Harford County public school opponents, beating No. 20 C. Milton Wright, 3-0, and unranked Bel Air, 4-1.

NDP, which surprised more than a few observers on their way to reaching Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championship game last fall while fashioning a 15-4 record, picked right up where it left off last season when it took powerhouse McDonogh down to the wire before falling to the Eagles in the title tilt, 1-0.

The offense was clicking so well on Saturday for the Blazers while maintaining possession for long segments that the defense had a relatively easy time keeping in control of the action against the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference squads.

In fact, freshman goalie Brooke Borzymowski, who played against Bel Air, and her sophomore teammate, Sasha Dennis, who was in the cage against C.M. Wright, only had to make one save each in their outings.

Brooke’s older sister, junior midfielder Rachel Borzymowski, had one of the goals against Bel Air as did J.J. Kraft.

Junior Nathalie Friedman, though, had a monster day against the Bobcats, totaling two goals and a pair of assists in the triumph.

Senior midfield/forward Sam Nason, junior Morgan Johnson and sophomore Meredith Medvetz added helpers as well for the Blazers.

In a the shutout of the host Mustangs, Friedman, Medvetz and sophomore Liza Regan did the scoring on assists from junior midfielder Olivia Kenney, Nason, Kraft and Friedman.

The afternoon portion of the four-team gathering did not go so well for top-ranked Hereford, which dropped a 2-0 decision to C.M. Wright after the Bulls blanked Bel Air, 3-0, in a morning matchup.

Both games had 25-minute halves instead of the normal 25-minute periods.

Junior midfielder Sam Aljets notched the first goal for the Mustangs on a penalty stroke after the officials called Hereford’s Camryn Kelbaugh for interfering with Aljets on the previous play on what appeared to be an outstanding play by the Bulls’ standout goalie.

Allots did not hesitate on her stroke, rifling the ball perfectly into the corner of the cage for a 1-0 lead in the first half.

The hosts doubled their advantage on a goal by Annie Keele assisted by Aljets and Taylor Martinelli.

“Sam is our go-to player,” C. M. Wright coach Kelly Mattingly acknowledged. “She distributes the ball very well and is a smart, smart player.”

Goalie Diana Borg (2 saves) was credited with the shutout, although senior defenders Kelsey Goetze and Sophie Carlson, with junior backline mate Ellie Muffly, made sure the Bulls never seriously threatened the cage.

The Mustangs tested Kelbaugh several times, including an early shot by senior forward Emily Cowie that Kelbaugh (8 saves) smothered.

Late in the game, Cowie smashed a back-hander that rocketed past the goal to Kelbaugh’s right.

The call that went against the Bulls on Kelbaugh, was, like the weather, something they will have to live with until the rematch with the Mustangs on Friday in Parkton.

“We just call that adversity,” said Hereford coach Caitlin Duvall, who led the Bulls to their third straight Class 2A state title last fall. “There are things in a game that you can’t control, like how an official will make a call. Every season you get one of these games where things don’t work out.”

Things were much better against Bel Air, however.

Senior midfielder Grack Clarke, junior forward Mackenzie McKillop and sophomore forward Katie Martino scored against the Bobcats while McKillop and senior forward Maddie Knight had assists.

Sydney Lippe had four saves for the Bulls.

Sophomore forward Maddie Conroy notched the only goal for Bel Air. Freshman goalie Abby Bannan made four saves against Hereford and three more than that against the Blazers.

Losing is never fun, yet Bel Air coach Amy Chmielewski said that her team is ready to go for the season.

“We just have to learn to play as a team together better,” she said.