Field Hockey: Fipps, South Carroll exact revenge on Francis Scott Key in region playoffs

Grace Fipps understood the stakes of Monday’s Class 1A West Section 1 title game against Francis Scott Key all too well.

Just last year, South Carroll fell in penalty strokes to the Eagles at home in the very same circumstances. The loss stayed on the mind of Fipps and others who suffered the heartbreaking defeat.


This time around, the Cavaliers got their revenge.

Off a corner with 7:15 left to play in the first half, Fipps’ stick found the end of a cross from Julie Weiss and the senior forward slotted her shot in the back of the cage to double South Carroll’s lead.

Less than two minutes later, she was on the assisting end of a goal by teammate Abbey Behn.

Goals from Fipps, Behn, and Jenna McDermott jumped South Carroll out to a 3-0 halftime lead and the Cavaliers never looked back — clinching the elusive Section I title — a goal they’ve eyed over the past 364 days.

“The whole team has been working really hard,” Fipps said. “We took the emotion from last year and put it into this game and really came out strong. We were just prepared and ready.”

South Carroll's Rachel Linn tries to work past the defense of FSK's Hannah Duke during the second half of their game in Uniontown Monday, October 29, 2018.
South Carroll's Rachel Linn tries to work past the defense of FSK's Hannah Duke during the second half of their game in Uniontown Monday, October 29, 2018. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

South Carroll (8-8) earned a first-round bye before routing Pikesville 9-0 to reach the sectional final.

The Cavs’ offensive momentum carried over into a frigid matchup in Uniontown, as swirling winds left the players and those in attendance bundled up.

McDermott found herself alone on the left edge of the circle less than seven minutes into the game and fired a shot past FSK goalie Emma Buzby for SC’s opening goal.

“We’ve been working on stick skills a lot this year and I think that really shows,” Fipps said. “Coach Julie [Radnoff] is an amazing coach. She’s come up with some great drills for us — really just to stay engaged in practice and find each other on the field with our stick-to-stick passing.”

Radnoff said finishing scoring chances were a focal point, and the third-year coach was pleased to see it pay dividends.

“It was something we’ve been preaching all year of trying to finish,” Radnoff said. “Last year, we left a lot on the table [against FSK] one and we’ve had some games this year where we’ve had a hard time finishing. Every drill we’ve done the last week-and-a-half has been on finishing.”

Radnoff credited the midfield line of McDermott and Megan Radnoff as South Carroll controlled possession in the opposing half for the entirety of the game.

The Cavaliers earned seven penalty corners and outshot FSK 10-4.

Senior goalie Rachel Hagler contributed four saves in the win.


“The mentality was to play SC hockey,” Julie Radnoff said. “Be the first one to the ball, use the speed that we have up front … and make sure we didn’t get beat deep.”

Francis Scott Key (7-6) rebounded from first-half struggles to keep South Carroll scoreless in the final 30 minutes.

The Eagles weren’t able to get on the scoreboard, but Lori Knights was impressed with her team’s halftime adjustments.

“They struggled a little bit in the first half to get into the rhythm and to adjust to South Carroll’s play,” she said. “They came in at halftime, we talked about it, and held [South Carroll] to nothing in the second half. They definitely had a great change.”

Buzby totaled 10 saves in goal for Key, which was trying to defend its region crown.

South Carroll advances as one of eight teams left in the 1A playoffs. They await the winner of Catoctin and Walkersville — with a West Region championship on the line.

The Cavs haven’t won a regional championship since 2004.

A state title is the ultimate goal, but Radnoff and her team are focused on their next game, and that game only.

“Right now I just told them that our next game is Wednesday,” she said. “We don’t go ahead of that until Wednesday comes.”

Goals: SC-Jenna McDermott, Grace Fipps, Abbey Behn.

Assists: SC-Julia Weiss, Fipps.

Saves: SC-4 (Rachel Hagler); FSK 11 (Emma Buzby).

Halftime: SC, 3-0.