Although No. 11 Hereford didn't capture a Baltimore County field hockey championship for the first time this fall in six years, the Bulls' shortcoming has motivated them to win a regional championship and possibly a state title.
"Not going to counties made it more pressing to extend the season and win another championship," Hereford coach Tammy Mundie said.
The Bulls will get their shot at a state championship after blanking Kent Island, 5-0, in a Class 2A state semifinal at Broadneck High on Wednesday.
Hereford (12-4-1) advances to play No. 13 Century at Washington College in Chestertown on Saturday at 4 p.m. for their seventh state title and sixth under Mundie.
“We haven’t won one in four years,” said Mundie, whose team lost in the Class 3A final last year to Atholton, 2-1. “So none of these girls have tasted that. They have seen their older siblings and friends get that. It’s always been within reach. I would really like a state title for them.”
Hereford controlled the action for most of the game.
Senior attacker Layne Litsinger scored just 1:47 into the first half on a scramble in front of the net, knocking a rebound past senior goalie Chioe Francis. It was the University of Maryland recruit's fifth goal of the season.
Kent Island (16-2-1) had its best scoring chance about six minutes later on a penalty corner before Hereford senior keeper Jessie Lynch made two saves, including one on a blistering shot from Sophia Brown.
Hereford sophomore Haley Jolly made it 2-0 with 16 minutes remaining in the first half, knocking the ball off a rebound between Francis' legs and into the cage.
The Bulls continued to pressure Francis and the Buccaneers’ defense in the second half.
They had four penalty corners in the first seven minutes, breaking through at the end of the flurry when Sarah Smith lunged to score for a 3-0 advantage with 23:52 remaining.
“We struggled at the beginning of the year with our corners, connecting on passes,” Litsinger said. “But today, we were really on. It was like, ‘Once touch and give and go's.’ We really had it together.”
Lucy Reider and Maddie Hoover finished the Bulls' scoring in the midway through the second half.
Even when Kent Island pushed the ball deep into Bulls’ territory, Lynch faced only four shots compared to the Bull's 22-shot salvo directed toward the Buccaneers.
“They did good job of containing them and keeping them out,” Mundie said of defenders Sarah Smith, Kendra Herbenar, Samantha Janecek and Rebecca Schmidt. “They were kind of like a wall back there.”