Put simply, I don't know that I've ever had so many of my teams in the state tournament at any one time. I've had some years when three of the teams I was covering won regional championships and headed off to the state semifinals, but that has usually happened in the spring season, when I cover baseball and softball (that isn't to say that the baseball and softball teams are superior to those that play fall sports, just an observation). Covering three teams that are out competing for a chance at a state title presents plenty of work for me, so I'm usually just fine with that number. This year's fall sports teams, however, had something else in mind. So, in honor of them making my weekend very busy, I've compiled a little list of numbers and figures to show just how weird and exciting the post-season has been thus far. Here goes:
Five: That's the number of my teams (when I say "my," I mean teams in the sports I cover) that grabbed MPSSAA regional titles this week and last. C. Milton Wright field hockey took the 3A North title, Patterson Mill field hockey won the 1A North and both of them won their state semifinal games earlier this week, so they are both headed to Washington College on Saturday to compete for state championship. As I've said before, no field hockey team besides Fallston has earned a state crown since I started covering the sport back in 2007, so a victory from either, or both, of those teams would be welcome.
In boys soccer, Havre de Grace (1A South), Fallston (2A East) and C. Milton Wright (3A North) all won regional titles on Tuesday (how do three Harford County teams wind up in three different regions?). As with field hockey, they play their next games on Saturday.
Five teams alive in their respective state tournaments, two going for state titles, the other three one step away from the finals. I'll just say, good luck, everyone.
20: That would be the number of seconds it took Patterson Mill's Linnea Gonzales to score a goal on Wednesday night during her team's 6-2, 1A state semifinal win over Southern Anne Arundel. The opening whistle sounded, there were two or three passes, and then I heard a clank as Gonzales' shot whacked into the back of the Southern goal with 29:40 left to go in the first half. I've seen some fast goals, but none that fast, and I've certainly never seen anyone jump on the other team that quickly in post-season game. If you want to de-pressurize your teammates in a high-tension, lose-and-our-season-is-done matchup, score a goal 20 seconds into the game. It certainly helped the Huskies.
11: That was the goal differential between the Fallston and North Caroline boys soccer teams at Tuesday's 2A East regional title game. Fallston won that game, 13-2, and I'm still trying to figure out if 13 goals in a regional final is some kind of state record. I've never even heard of anything like that.
To put it in perspective, no Harford County public school team scored 13 goals in any regular-season game this year. Even had I seen a score like that at the beginning of the season, when teams are playing mismatched games and everyone is still trying to sort out their lineups, I would still think, "dang, that's a lot of goals." When I saw the final score of the Fallston vs. North Caroline game on Tuesday, I figured it was a typo, and that someone had "1" key that was a little sticky. I mean, 3-2 is a score from a regional title game, but 13-2 is the score you get when the varsity teams plays a scrimmage with the junior varsity team at the end of the season.
I'm not sure what combination of factors led to Fallston thumping the opposition so soundly, but everyone on the team should write down what they had for lunch that day, or try really hard to remember if they did anything that might have pleased the sports gods, because stuff like that doesn't happen very often. Well done, Cougars.