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Catonsville field hockey advances to sectional semifinals with convincing victory

Catonsville seniors Emma Clark and Catherine Sweeney have played varsity field hockey together for four years and they weren't going to end their seasons quietly in the Class 4A sectional finals against visiting Kenwood.

But, after 12 scoreless minutes, when Kenwood goalie Eva Waller and defenders Bre Lewis, Alexis Burraine and Gabby Williams stopped everything the Comets fired on them, it looked like they needed to make some noise.

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That's exactly what they did.

Clark received senior Maddie Larson's pass in the middle of the circle and fed Sweeney on the doorstep for a goal and 1-0 lead with 17:32 left in the first half.

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Just 34 seconds later Clark did the same thing and the Comets led 2-0.

From there, the goals kept coming like a snowball gathering powder on the way down a ski slope.

When the partial eclipse of the sun that evening set for the night, the Comets (11-3) had an 11-0 victory and they were on their way to a rematch with Dulaney in Timonium on Monday, Oct. 27 at 3 p.m.

The Lions eliminated the Comets in the regional semifinals 1-0 last year and the Comets defeated the Lions 2-1 in 2012 in the regional finals when Catonsville advanced to the state finals where they lost to South River

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Earlier this year, the Comets fell to Dulaney 1-0 and that cost them a spot in the Baltimore County championship game.

Catonsville, who defeated county champion Hereford during the regular season, was in a three-way tie (with one league loss each) with Hereford and Dulaney in the battle for two spots in the county title game.

Catonsville lost the tie-breaker because its win over Hereford came against a 2A school, while Dulaney and Hereford's wins came against 4A schools.

"The Dulaney loss was very heartbreaking for us," Catonsville coach Carrie Mckenna-Wilson said. "It cost us counties, but we are going to come back from that and we have."

Against Kenwood, Clark and Sweeney each scored three goals and had two assists to lead the onslaught.

Clark, who will play at Fairfield University next year, leads the team with 19 goals and Sweeney, who will play at Salisbury University, had 17 goals.

"We assist each other for all our goals," Clark said. "It kind of just happens. We've been playing with each other since freshman year, so we've gotten very used to playing together."

Also joining the act with goals were Ashley Bates, Juliana Keagle, Bri Spinnato and defenders Elissa Presslein and Emma Walsh.

Brittany Stevens had two assists and Keagle had one for the Comets.

Catonsville goalie Vanessa Tracy and defenders Presslein, Walsh and Savannah Cheuvront faced no shots all evening.

But, Catonsville's Mckenna-Wilson was impressed with the fight of the visiting Bluebirds, who had only 12 players and five who had no previous experience before this season.

"They never gave up," she said. "I've got to give them credit. They didn't get an attitude and never gave up. Their goalie was great because our girls can shoot and she had some great saves, she was awesome."

The coach wasn't overly nervous when the game was scoreless through the first 12 minutes.

"Once we go, we go," she said. "When we are on, we are on. I hope we stay on."

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