That 1-1 tie held through two overtime periods. At that point, the two coaches talked it over and decided to call the game a tie. This made their teams co-champions.
Then, the first weekend in October brought bitter frustration at the Harford Hockeyfest Tournament.
Freedom had finished pool play tied with Catonsville; each had a 4-0 record. The bracket winner would go on to the championship game. Walters hoped the two teams would be allowed to play some sort of abbreviated game to break the tie.
However, the tournament officials insisted on deciding by a coin flip — Catonsville won it.
“We were the reigning champion, but that’s what they decided,” Walters said. “Some of the girls were crying when they left the field.”
A week later, the Wildcats played in the Hollow Hockey Tournament at the Garrison Forest School. Here, expectations were lower.
This tournament featured a number of high-powered club field hockey teams. Some of these teams play year-round. Field hockey to them is something of a lifestyle.
Freedom’s coaches entered to give their girls an opportunity to play in a competitive environment. Freedom had won that tourney twice in a row a few years earlier.
Some of the team’s girls had been there before, so their coaches felt the kids could hold their own this time. They did, compiling a 2-2 record. Their losses were by 3-1 and 4-2.
The team also went 6-0-1 in the Maryland Youth Field Hockey League this fall. While the league doesn’t keep standings, there couldn’t be many with a better record than that. But again, there is no trophy to how for it.
However, one thing is pretty certain. The kids are good.
“It’s a combination of everything,” Walters said. “The forwards are up there when the middies bring the ball down, and the defense follows where the ball is. And, we stress conditioning by having them run before practice.”
This makes Freedom better, and in the long run it’s the players who benefit.
“The ones who really love it go on to college,” Walters said.
Her daughter Sarah moves on to Century High School next year. And mom wants to spend more time following Sarah’s field hockey career.
She has turned her directorship of Freedom’s field hockey program over to another. Walters planned to quit coaching too.
“I wanted to be the parent on the sidelines for a change,” she said.
However, coaching still calls. Walters and a friend already coach an informal, once-a week pickup field hockey game in Reisterstown during the summer.