Field Hockey: Francis Scott Key advances to first state title game in 21 years

Megan Woodward
Contact ReporterCarroll County Times

While Francis Scott Key’s field hockey team posed for pictures with teammates and loved ones outside the Paint Branch High School stadium, coach Lori Knights took a selfie with her assistant coaches.

It was time to celebrate — the Eagles had just defeated Fallston 1-0 to advance to the state championship game for the first time in 21 years, and they will face Patuxent at Washington College on Saturday.

“They did very well,” Knights said. “They took a little bit to settle in at the very beginning and that’s why we called a time out early in the half to get them to settle and get them to do what they know how to do, which is play the basics and get back to that. They did a really good job.”

Knights called that time out about 11 minutes into the game after Fallston forward Olivia Reed took a shot that just missed the cage. Both teams remained evenly balanced throughout, stepping into the midfield to keep the ball away from an opponent’s advantage.

The FSK fans started the first of many “We Are … Scott Key” chants that were later countered with “Cougar Nation” cheers from Fallston’s side.

This season has been quite the journey, said Eagles’ junior forward Morgan Mattson. Mattson scored the lone goal of the game with 20:32 left in regulation and it proved to be the game-winner.

She was tackled by teammate Suzanne Edwards as soon as the ball hit the back of the cage.

“Honestly, I don’t really quite remember,” Mattson said. “I know it bounced off the goalie’s pads and I turned around for the rebound, I reverse tipped it and it went in. I was really excited and I didn’t realize it went in until Suzanne, No. 30, crushed me with a hug. It was great.”

The Eagles continued to look strong, despite a hard offensive push from Fallston late in the second half. The Cougars garnered three penalty-corner chances that were each cleared by FSK’s defense.

“They were definitely crazy,” Eagles goalie Kourtney Black said, regarding her nerves. “There was a lot of stuff going through my head … they just keep coming and coming and coming, but I have a lot of trust in my defense and I trusted them to stay with their mark. The only thing I had to worry about is the ball.”

Black said despite a slow start, the girls were able to find their rhythm and keep it going. She made five saves for the Eagles (11-5).

FSK appeared in the regional championship game the last three seasons, where the Eagles lost in strokes to Manchester Valley in 2015 and in overtime against in 2016. The team is on a hot streak and has yet to surrender a goal in the playoffs.

“We’ve been working at this since her freshman year, my sophomore year,” Black said, with a nod to Mattson. “Coming out from a rough season, 1-5 in counties, winning regionals, beating South Carroll, coming into a game like this and playing our hearts out is definitely something that was amazing.”

Goals: FSK-Morgan Mattson.

Assists: FSK-Makayla Black.

Saves: F-2 (Megan Dudick); FSK- 5 (Kourtney Black).

Halftime: Tied, 0-0.

mwoodward@carrollcountytimes.com

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