The Catonsville field hockey team needed something to lift its spirits after a tough road loss at Dulaney yesterday and the Comets (6-4) got it with a 4-0 senior night victory over Perry Hall.
Eight days after senior Hayden Kesner scored four goals in a 6-2 win over Franklin, the senior scored three in the victory over the Gators (0-7).
Senior Melissa Tolton added a penalty-stroke goal, along with nifty midfield play, and seniors Sydney Keagle and Caitlyn Baeck had assists.
“It was good that it was senior night tonight because it was happy and emotional and they really wanted to win,” Catonsville coach Barb Bates said.
In addition to Tolton, Baeck, Kesner and Keagle, senior players Deanna Delaney, Ellie Jackson, Lauren Neebe, Sarah Ossing and Hannah Slaski were honored before the game, along with senior manager Arden Hitchcock.
Because of the extended pre-game senior night activities, the Comets didn’t get their full pre-game routine.
Perry Hall called time out with 17:37 left in the half and the game scoreless and Bates had a message for her girls.
“I told them, ‘That was your warm-up and now we need to put some balls in the goal,’” she said.
Right after the time out, a cross by Perry Hall’s Skyler Hovatter led to shots by Gabriell Greul and Riley Fitch that were blocked and another by Fitch that leaked wide.
Catonsville responded with shots by Keagle and Ava Waddell that were saved by goalie Emily Carter and another by Baeck, after a penalty corner, that was wide.
“We had some beautiful corners, we just didn’t score,” Bates said. “Their goalie did a great job.”
Catonsville finally got a penalty corner where they delivered and it came after Neebe forced a turnover and sent a ball into the circle.
On the ensuing corner, Baeck inserted it to Keagle and she fed Kesner for the score with 9:22 left in the half.
It was the first and most favorite goal for the hat-trick scorer.
“It was just frustration at that point, so I just nailed that ball because I was so frustrated and so it went in so hard,” Kesner said. “That was exciting.”
Kesner’s second goal, just over four minutes into the second half, was the prettiest.
Kesner carried the ball down the left sideline, fed a streaking Baeck in the middle and Baeck quick-sticked it back to Kesner, who deposited home.
Tolton’s penalty stroke made it 3-0 with 19:30 remaining in the game.
“I’ve done all the strokes this year and I go the same place every time,” said Tolton, who is 3-for-3 on strokes this season. “I always try and fake like I’m going one way and then I go the opposite way.”
While the penalty stroke was exciting, Tolton’s blocks and control in the middle of the field were more valuable and her spin moves with the ball were entertaining.
“We have practiced it before,” Tolton said. “I’ve been doing that since rec. That’s kind of my go-to move.”
When Bates wasn’t chuckling at the spin move, she was admiring her hard work.
“Melissa comes up with the ball in the middle almost all the time, she goes to the left and right to help cover,” Bates said. “She is really all over the place. She is really a valuable player too.”
Kesner’s scoring ability and stick-handling was also admirable.
“She is amazing,” said Bates, who watched her fourth goal after she rebounded her own shot off the keeper. “Her stick-work is amazing and they are really successful when they work as a team. When they try to go individual and score it doesn’t work and we tell them that.”
The Catonsville defense of Jackson, Slaski and Delaney was very solid and when the Gators did get some drives into the Comets’ end, the midfielder retreated in time to help.
Goalie Megan Davis, who had over 30 saves in the 7-0 loss to Dulaney the day before, was rarely tested.
“We work a lot on making sure we are getting back and we also really focus on going to the ball,” Tolton said.
In the second half, the Comets frequently blocked clearing attempts.
“Every time they got the ball, they just drove it and I just said knock it down,” Bates said.
With no scoring, the highlight for the Gators was junior goalie Carter, who finished with 12 saves.
“She is absolutely amazing. She works very hard,” Perry Hall coach Brittani LaFollette said. “She gets in there and she’s like ‘I got this,’ she dives left and right.”
But, the coach knew her defense was tested far too often.
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“They are looking at one thing when they should be looking at another and they are super quick, so when they are quick, you don’t know where to go,” she said. “There is only so much we can do and once we get down two goals, the whole energy of the team goes down, which is unfortunate, but most of them fought for the whole game and that’s all that I can really ask for.”