By Craig Clary, firstname.lastname@example.org
6:00 AM EDT, September 19, 2013
Towson High field hockey coach Holly West doesn't hide her feelings about what teams she wants to see in the Baltimore County championship game on Oct. 17 at Lansdowne High.
"I'm tired of the same teams in the county championship," said West, following the Generals' 1-0 loss to Dulaney on Sept. 10.
She knows Dulaney is one of the teams she has to finish ahead of for the county berth and the loss at home on a second-half goal by Sarah Schaeffler, off a Sara Sprinkel assist, was a pain-staking affair.
"We really wanted this," West admitted.
Dulaney has lost to Hereford in the past four county championships.
The last time Towson was in the county's feature classic was 2008 and they lost to Hereford.
Towson last won a county title in 2007 when they defeated Catonsville.
The Generals will get a chance to do something about their chances when they host Hereford, Sept. 19 at 3:45.
Six-time state champion Hereford has won five straight county titles and 13 of the past 16.
They shared a title with Towson in 2005.
To make a run to the postseason, the Generals know they need to capitalize on opportunities when they get in the opponent's circle.
"We need to get hungrier and go toward that goal cage head first and score a goal," said West, whose squad had several scoring opportunities in a 3-2 loss to Patterson Mill in the regular-season opener.
In both losses to Patterson Mill and Dulaney, the Generals really stepped up the pressure in the final minutes, but ran out of time.
After that loss, the Generals earned a penalty-stroke victory over Centennial, after the game was deadlocked at 3-3 following double-overtime, in the first round of the Centennial Tournament.
They also lost to Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference finalist Mount de Sales in that tournament, but followed with a 2-1 win over Baltimore County foe Franklin.
In the Generals' first five games, they scored eight goals. Sophomore Stephanie Jones, who had both goals against Franklin, leads the team in goals (4) and classmates Maeve Lynch, Caitlin Berger and Savannah Cockerille each have one goal each, along with senior Kaylan Gotwalt adding one.
Against Dulaney, senior Paige Burkett had a couple of chances in the waning moments against the Lions, but was disappointed the Generals couldn't get over the hump against their rivals.
"As a senior I kind of realized this was our last chance to beat Dulaney and we all got a little lift up at the end," said Burkett, one of four seniors, along with Maddie Tribbe, Sydney Cockerille and Katie DeMallie who bring experience to the offense.
Burkett has already seen a nice connection between the veterans and the underclassmen.
"I definitely think this year our team has bonded a lot and we are really working together well and I think over the season it's just going to get better and we'll be on attack more and play as a team, more than individually," she said.
Defensively, the Generals were under pressure often against Dulaney, but the trio of senior Audrey Chesser, freshman Rachel May and Savannah Cockerille, along with senior goalie Meg Horan, held their own.
Horan had six saves in the second half on an extremely humid afternoon, but she wasn't happy about the one that went by on a deflection.
"It was an amazing goal, but now I know what I need to improve on," she said.
Horan didn't blame her team's defensive lapse on fatigue.
"We can't get tired," Horan said. "I understand we had so many corners down at the end, but I'm not going to get tired, I'm just going to do it over and over and over and just go all out and try my hardest," she said.
Coach West doesn't doubt that and feels the rest of the team is on board.
"They battled and they never gave up and that is huge, because you can't coach that, that has to come from them," West said. "They are always going to give us what they have and they are going to play until the end of the game, but we need to learn to take advantage of opportunities and finish on those opportunities."