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Late first-half goal holds up as North County field hockey beats Catonsville, 1-0, in region playoffs

Catonsville senior captain Erin Lagervil tries to get past North County's Mikayla Peterson in the Comets' 1-0 loss in the regional semifinals.
Catonsville senior captain Erin Lagervil tries to get past North County's Mikayla Peterson in the Comets' 1-0 loss in the regional semifinals. (Photo by Craig Clary)

The North County field hockey squad took only three shots against host Catonsville on Monday night, but one was enough for a win.

Darby von Berg scored with 28.5 seconds left in the first half and the Knights (3-10) held on for a 1-0 victory over the Comets (3-10) in the Class 4A North Region I semifinals.

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The goal came after a penalty corner was inserted by Anabella Colgan to Kaydence Augustin. Her shot was saved by goalie Allison Kitchell, but the ball popped free to von Berg and she tapped it in.

“We’ve been working on plays like that and most games it doesn’t work, but this game it did,” von Berg said. “It bounced off the post and then one of their players and I was just in the right place at the right time.”

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It was the only time the Knights had a penalty corner in the first half, and they had only one more in the second half.

Catonsville had 11 penalty corners, including 10 in the second half, and outshot the Knights 11-3.

“We were dominating, but we just couldn’t finish,” Catonsville coach Barb Bates said. “On all those corners, we just couldn’t put it in.”

Catonsville’s best scoring chance in the first half came with 3:30 left when Abby Shackelford’s shot was saved by goalie Wendy Holgin.

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The Comets added more pressure in the second half, but couldn’t dent the cage.

“First half was more equal, second half they made this old man’s heart beat a lot faster,” North County coach Dave Moeller said. “This is a big win for us.”

Catonsville got stellar play from sophomores Katie Tolton and Mary Angell and senior Brigid Baeck.

“Katie had a great game and our right wing [Baeck] had a great game,” said Bates, who also praised Angell, who was filling in for starting center back Gillian Higgins.

“She went in and played center D, which is like amazing,” Bates said. “She doesn’t even play defense.”

Angell played defense with senior Sophia Parr and junior Ainsley Shannon.

Higgins, who broke her finger against Dulaney, came in late to the game to utilize her powerful drives. The Comets also got some solid play from senior captains Erin Lagervall and Kat Wanko.

The best chance for the equalizer came with 1:20 left in the game, but a shot by Baeck caromed off the goalie’s chest protector.

North County advances to the regional final, where it will play Dulaney.

Monday’s game was played in memory of popular student-athlete Brittany Stevens, who died Dec. 8, 2019.

Stevens played four years of varsity field hockey and was first team All-County her senior year at Catonsville. She also was a standout on the varsity lacrosse team.

Former players, family, friends and current players honored her by wearing her favorite color, yellow, and yellow balloons decorated the fence surrounding the field.

Stevens’ favorite saying was “What made you laugh today?” and those words are on the Catonsville scoreboard permanently.

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