Seton Keough sophomore Emily Lemanski scored the only goal with just over six minutes remaining to give the Gators a 1-0 victory over defending champion Mount de Sales in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference championship game.
It’s the first IAAM title for the Gators (18-3-2, 13-0 conference) and the first field hockey title since 1994, before the IAAM was founded.
Defending champion de Sales (15-4, 10-2) was in the championship game for the second straight year.
“It’s surreal,” said Seton Keough coach Tom Jester, whose Gators defeated the Sailors 4-0 during the regular season. “I knew they were a good team and I knew this was going to be a close game. This game could have gone either way.”
It appeared headed for overtime until Lemanski rebounded her own shot with a reverse sweep shot into the cage.
“It was unbelievable,” Jester said. “She is an awesome player.”
“I just took a shot and it came right back to me I just had to go again,” Lemanski said.
One goal was enough in a game dominated by great defensive stops and excellent goalie play from Seton Keough’s Becca Wallace and Mount de Sales’ Eve Lukowksi.
Seton Keough’s defense was anchored by Emani Byrd, Hannah Tavik and Kathleen Sigwart.
“Our defense is amazing,” Lemanski said. “You can always trust they will be there for us.”
That defense had close calls in each half.
With 14:18 left in the first half, Sailor forward Julianna Shearer had a breakaway but her hard shot leaked wide.
Lacy Cole had a shot on goal that was saved by Wallace with 10:15 remaining in the second half.
The Sailors’ back line features Lauren Hiltz, Lauren Guzman and Laura Gretz, but the Gators had solid scoring chances in both halves thanks to pressure from Alisha Locklear, Katie Audino, Ciara Saunders and Christine Tomasic.
“Our defense was outstanding,” Mount de Sales coach Mary Gentner said. “It was anybody’s ballgame and the ball just didn’t bounce our way.”