Edgewood approached its season-opening game Friday at Atholton with a David vs. Goliath mindset.
“We knew that it was going to be a tough game because we know there’s a huge feeder program in Howard County with the Stampede and that a lot of girls play club,” said Edgewood coach Carolyn Wiland.
By contrast, her team has just one club player and only two — both freshmen — who have played field hockey before high school.
On its home turf field, Atholton’s skill advantage won out, 19-1. The Raiders are the defending Class 3A state champions.
Rachel Day, Jen Bleakney and Katie Fales, each had four goals, as Atholton kept Edgewood’s defense on its heels.
Rams’ keeper Lissette Yeargain had a career-best 24 saves.
“We’re used to taking the score and having fun and learning from every game,” said Edgewood’s Julianne Reif, who scored on her team’s only shot of the day. “I’m glad it wasn’t a shutout; we gave them something.”
Atholton, which substituted frequently, had nine goals in the first half and 10 in the second. Most of the goals came off of field play; only two were from corners.
“We don’t have the background (that Atholton does), but (my players) are doing amazing for what they have to do. They have huge hearts. …They weren’t necessarily looking for a win, but what can I learn from this team to take with me into the season,” Wiland said.
Atholton also learned things.
“This game shows how much potential we have,” Day said. “We didn’t expect us to play this well. Every single player on the field stepped up.”
The Raiders have a point to make, said Bleakney. “We want to prove to people that it wasn’t a fluke that we won last year and that we had the passion and the power, that we gave it our all and that we can do it again this year.”
Day and Bleakney have both improved from a year ago and they make a formidable front-line presence.
“They are working together and it’s really making a big difference,” said Atholton coach Martie Dyer.
The number of goals the Raiders scored in the game didn’t impress Bleakney as much as “the tenacity and consistency of the play, picking up our effort with our (ultimate) goal in mind.”
The Raiders plan to still be playing in November, but Mt. Hebron is next up on their schedule. That game is Tuesday at Mt. Hebron.
Atholton 19, Edgewood 1
Goals: A — Jen Bleakney 4, Rachel Day 4, Katie Fales 4, Kristen Quinn 2, Ashley Martin 2, Sarah Bastacky, Gina D’Astro, Jaimie Cardea. E — Julianne Reif.
Assists: A — Jen Bleakney 3, Rachel Day 3, Jaimie Cardea 3, Ashley Martin 2, Rachel Foster 2, Sarah Bashtrey. E — Meagan Jorge.
Saves: A — Emily Clinch 0, Katelyn Potter 0. E – Lissette Yeargain 24.