One last field hockey power poll might have been more appropriate last Friday, when there was still a good amount of Harford County teams left in the MPSSAA regional tournaments, but I was engaged in heavy-duty social commentary, writing about how the prevalence of brightly colored soccer cleats has increased since my playing days. As it stands, there's just two teams left in the playoffs, Fallston and North Harford, and they are both heading to next week's state semifinals. That, however, is not going to stop me from ranking everybody one last time. Here goes:
1. Fallston: Wednesday's Class 1A North title game was looking like a slam dunk for the Cougars, who led Patterson Mill 3-0 with about five minutes left on the clock, but the Huskies made it interesting, scoring a pair of quick goals to cut Fallston's lead down to one. Jenna Mosketti, however, put the last nail in Patterson Mill's coffin with one of the finest goals I've ever seen in my five seasons covering field hockey, taking the ball from half field all by herself and scoring the Cougars' fourth and final tally. From here on out, the Cougars have to beat Manchester Valley in the state semifinals, then they'll probably meet up with Pocomoke in the 1A title game. If you aren't familiar, Pocomoke has won 17 state championships, including the last eight 1A crowns consecutively. Twelve-time champ Fallston will have its hands full if I'm correct on the final pairing.
2. North Harford: Had I written this column last Thursday, I would have put the Hawks in third or fourth place, so how did they jump up to the two-spot? Simple: they topped C. Milton Wright 2-1 in the 3A North quarterfinals, avenging a 3-0 regular-season loss to the Mustangs, cruised past Franklin in the semifinals, then brought it together for a stunning 2-1 victory over Hereford in the regional title game on Wednesday. It's always tough to predict what will happen in the post-season, because the teams are so torqued up that you see some strange results, but the Hawks have already beaten the toughest, most experienced squad in the 3A tournament, Hereford, so there's no reason they can't come back from Washington College next Saturday with a state championship trophy, which would be their first since the inaugural field hockey tournament in 1975.
3. C. Milton Wright: Were it not for last Thursday's 2-1 quarterfinal loss to North Harford, the Mustangs, who lost just twice in the regular season, most likely would have made it to the 3A North title game with Hereford, which would have been a fine matchup. Now, they will have to wonder what might have been. I would have to do some digging to verify it, but I would bet money that the CMW field hockey team has been eliminated from the post-season by one-goal losses more times than any other team I've covered.
4. Patterson Mill: The Huskies gave Fallston a heap of trouble this year, taking the Cougars to double overtime in their regular-season showdown, which ended in a 3-2 Fallston victory after Jenna Mosketti scored the game winner in double-overtime, then nearly coming back from a 3-0 deficit in Wednesday's 1A North final, which I've already mentioned. Had they won the regional title game and the state semifinals, the Huskies would probably have run into Pocomoke in a rematch of last year's 1A championship, which they lost 1-0 on a fluke goal.
5. Bel Air: The Bobcats lost to all four of the teams above them during the regular season, but made it to the 3A North semifinals by dispatching Aberdeen 7-0, and then had the curtains closed with a 3-0 loss to top-seeded Hereford.
6. Harford Tech: The Cobras had a nice run at the end of their 2011 campaign, winning five straight before losing to North East 5-0 in the season closer, then losing again to North East in the 1A North quarterfinals.
7. Aberdeen: The Eagles, who at one point were in the race for the Susquehanna (lower) Division's top spot and beat the Chesapeake Division's Bo Manor earlier in the season, ended things with a 7-0 loss to Bel Air in the 3A North's quarterfinal round.
8. Edgewood: After finishing the regular season with a respectable 5-6 record, the Rams, one of the teams the MPSSAA decided to leave in the 2A North rather than jam down in the 1A bracket, were knocked out of post-season play by Rising Sun last Thursday.
9. Joppatowne: The Mariners were eliminated from the 1A North bracket last week with a 5-0 loss to eventual finalist Patterson Mill.
10. Havre de Grace: With a 9-0 loss to Perryville in the 1A North quarterfinals, the Warriors wrapped up another dismal, winless campaign. To stay positive, they scored two goals this year, which they hadn't done the previous two seasons.