Hereford field hockey coach Tammy Mundie searched for the right words while her players cried. Gunning for a seventh overall state championship and sixth under Mundie, the Bulls were stunned by Altholton, 2-1, in the Class 3A state final at Washington College in Chestertown on Nov. 10.
The final result did not match the effort Hereford (17-1) gave Mundie after falling behind, 2-0.
“It just blew me away that they never gave up,” the coach said. “To come back and play they way they did after being down two goals against an awesome team, a very powerful team. I wished they could have had the prize at the end. I felt they deserved it based on what they put into the season.”
It may take a while for Mundie and the Bulls to get over what happened at the end of the game on a controversial call with just 4:22 remaining when referees disallowed junior attacker Layne Litsinger’s apparent goal, telling Mundie an offensive player didn’t touch the ball inside the 16-yard circle as required when shot from outside the circle.
“Layne tipped it,” Mundie insisted. “She was right in front of the cage. He (the referee) said Layne didn’t touch the ball. But who knows?”
Atholton (14-2) tested Hereford junior goalie Jessie Lynch (9 saves), who was up to the task early.
The Bulls’ best early scoring opportunity came nine minutes into play when Shannon Martello blasted a shot wide of the goal after getting a pass off a penalty corner from Mary Claire Abbott.
Lynch also made a nifty kick save on Jennifer Bleakney’s attempt with 13:39 remaining in the first half.
The Raiders solved Lynch late in the period, though, when Briana Stine knocked in a rebound with 11:53 remaining.
Atholton went ahead 2-0 a little more than two minutes later on Rachel Day’s unassisted goal.
Sophomore goalie Emily Clinch, however, saved consecutive shots from Abbott and her sister Caitlin when the Bulls attempted to rally.
In the second half, they applied even more pressure.
“I thought we were in much better control of the game in the second half, or at least had more opportunities to score,” Mundie said. “We got one in. I thought we were going to get a couple in.”
The Bulls trimmed the lead to 2-1 about four minutes into the second half when Maddie Hoover found the ball near the goal and crossed a pass to Mary Claire Abbott for a score.