Dulaney tops Hereford in OT for Baltimore County field hockey title
by Nelson Coffin
Reece Spann kept No. 6 Dulaney’s 14-game winning streak alive by scoring in the third minute of the first overtime to beat Hereford, 4-3, in the Baltimore County championship field hockey game on Monday night at Catonsville High.
Spann’s shot, which deflected off a defender and skidded past junior goalie Sydney Lippe (3 saves), ended a game in which the Lions (14-1) twice battled back from deficits to beat the Bulls for the third time this year.
“When we had our first timeout, we were talking more about passing it up with give-and-goes so we could get up the field faster,” Spann said about her first-ever goal in OT. “Casey (O’Grady) passed it to me and I passed it back to her and she passed it back. I just tried to send it in, but it hit off a defender’s shin guard and went in.”
Beating Hereford (6-7) three times in season — and the second consecutive time in OT — was a charm for the Lions.
“People say it can’t be done, but they’ve done it to us in past years,” Spann said. “We just had to believe in ourselves.”
Hereford jumped out to a 1-0 lead on the first of two goals by senior attacker Taylor Hackett just five minutes into the contest, and it stayed that way until Dulaney senior midfielder O’Grady knotted the score on a feed from senior midfielder Maggie Kelly nine minutes later.
Dulaney then took its only lead in regulation when Kelly took advantage of a giveaway to rush the cage and fire a shot past Hereford senior goalie Camryn Kelbaugh with just over nine minutes left in the first half.
Junior attacker Mackenzie McKillop drew Hereford even less than four minutes later when a Dulaney defender touched the ball with her hand during a scramble in front of freshman goalie Allie Mercer.
McKillop’s ensuing penalty stroke rocketed into the left corner of the cage to deadlock the score.
When Taylor Hackett converted a feed from her junior sister, Madison, early in the second half, the Bulls were back on top — but not for long.
Just 22 seconds later, Spain dribbled down the right side and fired a shot that bounced off Lippe’s pads to make it 3-3.
“That did take some wind out of our sails,” Hereford coach Caitlin Duvall said. “We have to learn how not to sit back and relax after we score a goal, We know how to put the ball in the back of the net. We just need to get more organized on defense.”
Both teams had chances to break the deadlock, especially Dulaney with Kelly, O’Grady and Spann either unleashing hard shots at Lippe or creating chances for teammates with setup passes.
And in OT, Dulaney went immediately into attack mode.
“We have 11 seniors, so we feel confident that we can answer back when we fall behind,” Dulaney coach Kellie Fialcowitz said. “We’ve played together for three years now, so even though we were getting pushed around a little bit and getting frustrated by not getting some calls, we stayed calm. In the past, that would have bothered us.That’s the difference between this year and last year.”
With the first round of the Class 4A North Region playoffs starting Thursday against Catonsville, the Lions are hoping to keep their focus.
“We’re happy about the win tonight, but tomorrow we start focusing on Catonsville,” Fialcowitz said.
Hereford will host Eastern Tech on Thursday in the Class 2A North Region tournament, and Duvall said she and her team are looking forward to a fresh start.
BALTIMORE COUNTY FIELD HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP
(at Catonsville High School)
NO. 6 DULANEY 4, HEREFORD 3 OT
HHS 2 1 0 — 3
DHS 2 1 1 — 4
Goals: HHS-Taylor Hackett 2, Mackenzie McKillop; DHS-Maggie Kelly, Casey O’Grady, Reece Spann 2.
Assists: HHS-Madison Hackett, Maddie Knight; DHS-Maggie Kelly.
Saves: HHS-Camryn Kelbaugh 2, Sydney Lippe 3; DHS-Allie Mercer 6.