The last two Harford County field hockey teams left alive in post-season play rose to the occasion Wednesday, when C. Milton Wright and Patterson Mill dished out losses to tough opponents in their respective MPSSAA regional championship contests.
Playing on the road in the Class 3A North title game, the CMW Mustangs posted their third straight shutout of the tournament to beat Towson, 2-0.
Also on the road in their regional final were the Patterson Mill Huskies, who won a 2-1, overtime thriller against the North East Indians.
Both teams move on to play in the state semifinals, with CMW taking on 3A South champ Huntingtown on Monday, while Patterson Mill will square off with the 1A South winner Southern-Anne Arundel on Wednesday. Both those games will be played at Franklin High School. The starting times had not been decided as of Wednesday night.
Huskies win thriller
Patterson Mill's Linnea Gonzalez has been a veritable force of nature for the Huskies in their 2013 playoff run, scoring all three of their goals in a 3-0, second-round victory over Fallston, coming with four more in the sectional semifinals, when the Huskies beat Harford Tech 8-0, and then notching the game-winning goal on Wednesday night that earned her team a 2-1, sudden-death overtime victory against North East in the 1A North championship game.
In three regional tournament games, Gonzalez has scored eight of her team's 13 goals, while the Patterson Mill defense has helped the Huskies outscore their opponents, 13-1.
Wednesday's victory was sweet for the Huskies, who in last year's 1A North tournament were on the opposite end of a one-goal loss to the same team they beat in this season's regional title game. In the 2012 1A North competition, the Huskies suffered a 2-1, quarterfinal defeat to North East, which went on to lose to eventual 1A state champ Fallston.
The win also put Patterson Mill back in the state tournament for the first time since 2010, when the Huskies made it all the way the to 1A title game before suffering a 1-0 defeat to 18-time state champ Pocomoke. In 2009 and 2008 the Huskies took 1A North regional titles, but were knocked out in the state semifinals.
In Wednesday's matchup, the Huskies their first goal was scored by Alyssa Jourdan, who found the North East net after taking a feed from Gonzalez.
Regulation time ended with the score knotted, 1-1, and the game moved to sudden-death overtime. In the first overtime period, Gonzalez scored the game-winning goal unassisted.
Patterson Mill goalie Maddie Hedrick had nine saves.
Mustangs headed to finals
Prior to the C. Milton Wright Mustangs' 3A North title game matchup with host Towson on Wednesday, CMW head coach Janice Rhodes said that, while her team's offense sometimes left wanting a bit more, the Mustang defense had been firing on all cylinders from the beginning of the 2013 campaign. The CMW back line did not disappoint Wednesday, holding Towson scoreless in a 2-0 Mustang victory.
The win, which earned CMW a Monday matchup with 3A South regional champ Huntingtown, puts the Mustangs back in the state tournament for the first time since they won back-to-back regional titles in 2004 and 2005. Prior to that, CMW last went to the state semifinals in 1991.
"The defense has been strong all year," Rhodes said before her team's Wednesday contest. "The offense scored a lot in the first half of the season, then we were seeing a lot of 1-0, 2-0 games. The defense has always been there though."
Wednesday's whitewashing of Towson marked the 14th time this season CMW has won via shutout, including post-season and tournament games. CMW suffered its only loss of the season, a 1-0 defeat, to Hereford on Sept. 30, allowed two goals in a 5-2 victory over Perryville on Oct. 9 and surrendered a single tally to Patterson Mill in a 5-1, Sept. 18 victory over the Huskies. Other than those three games, the Mustangs have made their own goal untouchable, and the post-season has proven no different. CMW kicked off play Oct. 24 with a 2-0 win against North Harford, then beat Bel Air, 4-0, on Monday.
In Wednesday's matchup, the Mustangs did not have to wait long for their first goal, as Haley Matthai scored with an assist from Madie Adams early in the first half.
Four minutes after CMW scored what would be the winning goal, Adams deflected a pass from Sabrina Rhodes into the Towson goal to pad the Mustangs' lead by one.
CMW goalie Sydney Rhodes recorded three saves in the shutout.