Dulaney blanks Catonsville, 2-0, for Baltimore County field hockey title

Dulaney won its second Baltimore County championship since 2006 on Thursday night at Lansdowne, and once again coach Kelly Fialcowitz was on the sideline.

Senior Sarah Schaeffler scored two first-half goals and the Lions' defense shut out Catonsville (11-2), ending the Comets' eight-game winning streak.

Dulaney (9-4) had lost the previous four county championship games to Hereford.

Fialcowitz was an assistant coach when the Lions defeated the Bulls for the 2006 crown, but she came back as head coach this season and proved she meant business during preseason practices.

"This was for the 6:45 [a.m.] conditioning practices," said Dulaney junior goalie Kalie Paranzino, who finished with three saves.

Schaeffler said of the earlyworkouts: "We knew they would be worth it."

Schaeffler said extra work on crashing the net during practice also paid off against the Comets, who beat the Lions, 4-2, earlier this season.

She scored her first goal on a penalty-stroke flick to the top left corner after a wild scramble in front of Comets goalie Vanessa Tracy.

"The ball went into pads, and our whole offense just rushed it because this whole week we've just been working on rushing the pads and getting the shot in and finishing. And we were all just rushing the pads, so the goalie sat on it, so we got a stroke."

Two-and-a-half minutes later, Schaeffler struck again after a corner pass from Casey Proefrock.

"I was just focusing on just stopping it and getting it off quick because I know if I looked up, I would run out of time," she said.

"We've just been working on getting the ball in the cage," said Fialcowitz, whose squad outscored its foes 23-13 in its first 12 games. "That's something we've been struggling all year, so we've been focusing on finishing."

Catonsville entered the game having outscored opponents 55-16.

"They double-teamed our really good players, and they came to the ball really fast," Catonsville coach Carrie McKenna-Wilson said.

Those key players included senior Brooke Stevens and junior Emma Clark. Stevens, who leads the Comets with 19 goals and eight assists, and has 33 goals and 14 assists over the past two seasons, had three scoring chances in the first half.

The first came after a pass from Clark and was repelled by Paranzino, who also blocked her rebound attempt with 15:42 left in the first half.

The third chance hit the side of the cage with 12:51 left.

Catonsville senior defender Kelly Reymann also had a hard shot on goal after a penalty corner pass from Stevens, but it was stopped by Paranzino.

"Kalie played an amazing game in the cage," Fialcowitz said. "She had some great saves, and that makes a big, big difference."

Added Paranzino: "We said at the beginning of the game this is going to be a shutout. We said, 'We are a brick wall.' "

The defense of Emma O'Grady, Lauren Batlas and Katie Boltz was flawless in the second half, holding the Comets without a shot on goal, and the midfield and attack kept constant sticks on Comets restarts.

Sophomore Christine Lopez, who left the game in the first half after getting hit in the mouth, put constant pressure on Comet strikes

"They are very dangerous in the circle," Fialcowitz said. "We know they are well capable of scoring, so the defense was huge."

Goals: Dulaney—Schaeffler 2

Assists: Dulaney—Proefrock

Saves: Catonsville—Tracy 7; Dulaney—Paranzino 3

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