The playoff expectations for No. 10 Catonsville (11-2) are understandably high following last year's appearance in the Class 4A state title game.
Having senior forward Brooke Stevens on their side is a big reason why. A four-year varsity player and captain, Stevens leads the Comets in scoring.
Catonsville, which saw its eight-game winning streak end in a 2-0 loss to Dulaney in the Baltimore County championship game last week, opens against visiting Perry Hall at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in its Class 4A North regional opener.
Stevens also is a standout lacrosse player and has committed to play that sport at High Point (N.C.) University. Maintaining a weighted 5.1 grade point average, she's also a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society and Math Honor Society. Stevens also is a Comet Culture Senior Leader and recreation youth field hockey coach.
How can last year's run to the state title game help this year?
I think some of the younger girls don't know what it was all about, so we have to really encourage them because we know we can do it again. We know we're this good and we can make it back, so we have to work really hard to do that again.
The team counts on you to provide much of the offense, how do you handle that?
It's a lot of pressure, but it's really nice because I have Catherine Sweeney and Emma Clark up there on the front line with me and we work together really well because we've played together since my sophomore year and also play club together. It starts with our defense and a lot of teammates and working together to score goals.
What is the biggest quality needed to score goals in field hockey?
I think it definitely comes down to determination and perseverance, because you only get so many shots. It's relatively hard to score in field hockey compared to other sports, so you have to keep pushing. Even if you make mistakes, you have to keep going and try to finish it.
How can the loss to Dulaney in the Baltimore County championship game last week help motivate the team for the playoffs?
I think it will help. It kind of humbled us and we know we have to work really hard because there are really good teams that can beat us. So we just have to come out that much harder and show what we have.
What was it about selecting High Point to play lacrosse?
I had a few other offers, but when I went down to visit High Point I just fell in love with the school. I loved the coaches and loved the team, so I'm just really excited to go there. And It also helps that purple is my favorite color [laughs].
How do you shuffle your busy schedule with class, sports and the extra-curricular activities you're involved in?
It's definitely really hard, but time management is a huge part. My parents always get on me to get my homework finished and do this and that. It can be hard coming home from sports and doing your homework, but I honestly do better when I have so much to do because I know I have to get it done rather than sit around doing nothing.
Outside of sports, what's it like being a high school senior?
It's nice having days off like last week when the other grades had to take PSATs. We're hoping for some snow days because we don't have to make them up [laughs]. It's nice being a senior and being at the top of the school.