Every year, the Patterson Mill field hockey has improved. With the school being established just a handful of years ago, it’s been quite an improvement.
The Huskies have been the Class 1A North Region champions for the last three years. The Huskies, however, have hit a wall in the state semifinal round the previous two seasons.
In 2008, they dropped a 6-0 decision to Glenelg, 6-0. Patterson Mill returned in 2009 only to lose to eventual state champ Pocomoke.
The third time was the charm for No. 10 Patterson Mill. The Huskies knocked out Bohemia Manor, 2-1, at Broadneck to claim a spot in the state finals.
“We have tried to make it further each year, and we have really met that goal this year,” Huskies coach Shannon Troyer said. “This was huge because we haven’t been to the state finals yet.”
Playing in the tough Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference, Patterson Mill has seen its fair share of close games, and has been a part of eight regular-season games determined by just one goal. It was no surprise to see the Huskies in a battle Monday evening.
With 57 seconds remaining in regulation, Huskies senior Lauren West found junior Emily Keesling near the Eagle goal, and rocketed a shot towards her for the tap-in winner.
“There, I had to find the best pocket there was, and I saw Emily and just hit it as hard as I could,” West said, recording the only assist of the game. “She tipped it and it went in.”
The goal was Keesling’s second of the night, netting her first with six minutes remaining in the first half to put the Huskies in the lead, 1-0.
“That goal was really important because we wanted to get ahead early,” Kessling said. “The first half was winding down and we just needed to get the ball in to get the early lead.”
Putting pressure on the Huskies to score their second goal, Bohemia Manor sophomore Meghan Townes rattled the goal in the second half, slipping a shot into the net less than three minutes into the second half to breathe life back into the deflated Eagles.
“We decided we needed to take control of the ball,” Eagles’ head coach Patti Blakeney said of the Bohemia Manor second half. “We were basically defending; we were just scurrying around just trying to get the ball out. We decided it was time to take control, get the ball, look up and figure out what you’re going to do with it instead of just hit it out.
“They played well. The first half we were slow, but we kept the ball out for the most part. We regrouped at halftime and the second half they were on fire, and I thought they played excellent.”
The Eagles put seven shots on Patterson Mill keeper Gabby Brooks, who added four saves to her 157 in 2010.
“They kept a couple of their girls up, which put pressure on our defense and made our defense talk more, and it made me have to stay on my toes more,” Brooks said. “I couldn’t go down a lot this game because there were a lot of [players] in the circle.”
Bohemia Manor ended their 2010 season, Monday, with a 11-5-1 record and the South Region championship. But the team’s most prized possession of the season will be the relationships they have made with each other.
“It was the best season I ever had,” Blakeney said as she fought back tears. “I have coached 16 years, and these girls are like a family to me.”
The Huskies have one more game to go, and facing seven-time reigning champion Pocomoke at Saturday at Washington College. They say they have nothing to lose.
“This year, no one thought we were going to be that great losing 13 seniors,” Brooks explained, “but it means that we are building the program and setting the tone for future teams.”
“We have nothing to lose in the state finals,” Keesling added, before West finished that the Huskies are, “in it to win it.”
“This was the game that made us more nervous,” Troyer concluded. “Saturday, they have nothing to lose, and they will just play their hearts out.”
|Patterson Mill 2, Bohemia Manor 1|
PM-Keesling (2); BM-Townes.
PM-Brooks 7; BM-Woodall 4.