The rain was coming down, but it couldn’t put out Atholton’s fire. The Raiders dominated Northern in the 3A state semifinal field hockey game, 4-0.
Atholton will play Hereford for the state championship on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 4 p.m. at Washington College.
But on Wednesday night, all the Raiders were thinking about was beating Northern.
“We have a mindset to come out strong. We want to score within the first two minutes,” said senior Ellie Matthews.
It took a little longer than two minutes, but Atholton did get on the board early when Rachel Day collected the ball abut ten minutes into the game and carried it beautifully up the right side.
She rounded the corner and found Briana Stine in front of the goal, and the Raiders had their first goal.
Atholton continued to dominate, earning five penalty corners in the first half while Northern had none.
With just over six minutes left to play before halftime, Jen Bleakney scored to put the Raiders up 2-0 heading into the break.
Then, in the second half, the Raiders accomplished their "two minute goal" when Stine struck once again. A little over ten minutes later, Jaimie Cardea came up from the backfield to collect a redirected cross and put it on goal, accounting for the final score.
Northern was not able to get a rhythm going, but the Patriots had a long road this season and were happy to be playing in the state semifinal.
“Two teams [Huntingtown and La Plata] we lost to in regular season, we beat during the playoffs,” coach Nicole Kerfoot said.
She also noted that they are not used to playing on artificial turf.
“It is a totally different game, it's a lot faster. Our girls don’t have the stick skills that they have, but they never gave up.”
Atholton won’t give up either, but there is one game that stands between it and a state title. Hereford, Atholton's opponent in the state finals, will be formidable. The Bulls have won six state titles, the last in 2009.
“Hereford is a great team and it’s going to be a great game,” said Stine. “It will come down to who executes better and who makes the most out of their talent.”
This is the third state final appearance for Atholton in school history, with the first two coming in 1980 and 2008.
Goals — A: Stine 2, Bleakney, Cardea.
Assists — A: Day.
Saves — A: Clinch 3; N: Thon 7.
Half — 2-0