WOODBINE — Laurie Naill broke into a dance that looked like a modified “Running Man,” although she may have been just trying to keep warm along the sideline.
Veronica Maring busted out a few moves of her own at one point near midfield, but quickly assumed her playing position when she noticed the ball coming her way.
Hannah Yaede shed her goalie equipment for field player garb, and seemed quite giddy when it came time for her to insert the ball on a penalty corner.
Seniors from six Carroll County field hockey teams gathered at Western Regional Park on Tuesday for the 2018 Senior Game. Players from Century, Francis Scott Key, and Westminster wore dark jerseys; girls from Liberty, Manchester Valley, and South Carroll donned white.
In the end, Team Black prevailed 3-1. The result was immaterial to those who played, however.
“It’s awesome,” Century’s Erin Ko said. “It’s an awesome way to wrap up the season. It’s just friendly with everyone from different teams playing with each other. It’s just really fun and it’s a good experience.”
Ko opened the scoring late in the first half when she converted a penalty stroke, after which she received congratulations from her Century, FSK, and Westminster teammates.
Team White tied the game 1-1 with less than 14 minutes remaining — Man Valley’s Madi Callahan took a short-range pass from fellow Mavericks player Taylor Glover — but Black regained the lead at the 10-minute mark.
Maring put her team back on top, and with 3:30 to play she fed Owls teammate Haleigh Moore for a nifty deflection. The insurance goal went down as the last time Maring and Moore will likely connect in high school uniforms.
Maring called it “one of our throwbacks where I was able to hit and she was able to tap it in, just like we used to do,” while Moore listened and said, “Ugh, I’m going to cry.”
Added Ko, who was standing alongside the Westminster duo: “That was beautiful.”
The game’s exhibition feel lasted throughout the afternoon.
Naill, Westminster’s coach, led things on the Black sideline with Century’s Terry Duryea and FSK assistant Lydia Fine. For White, Liberty’s Brenda Strohmer and Julie Radnoff combined strategies.
But for the most part, the seniors ran the show.
Westminster’s Anna Babylon twice whiffed while trying to smack the ball after a foul was called, then announced to her team with a grin she was leaving the field out of embarrassment.
Laughter was the most common thing heard along the sideline, shared by both teams — players from Liberty and SC joined forces a few days after each squad won a state championship at Washington College.
Afterward, the seniors formed a group in front of one of the cages for photos. Hugs and smiles followed.
Getting to this point of the year required hard work and focus for everyone involved, which might be why the laid-back nature of the Senior Game is so appealing to the coaches and players who participate.
“We honestly just knew it was going to be our last game, and we were switching up different positions and things that we’ve never played,” Maring said. “So in all seriousness, there was none.”
Said Moore about the game: “It was everything I expected it to be.”