Field Hockey: Jess Kent knocks in game-winner in OT, Westminster advances to 3A state final

Westminster wasn’t ready for its field hockey season to end in state semifinal for a second consecutive season.

The Owls brought an 11-1 playoff scoring edge into Wednesday’s a Class 3A semifinal against Huntingtown that included two straight shutouts, but needed overtime to determine a winner against the unbeaten Hurricanes at Paint Branch High School.


There were 7 minutes, 35 seconds left in overtime when freshman forward Jess Kent took a cross from senior defender Emma Border and pushed the ball into the cage to secure a 2-1 victory. The Owls will face Urbana in the 3A state final Saturday at Washington College.

“Honestly, Coach [Laurie Naill] giving us all the intensity, the team all screaming and getting us all hyped, and the adrenaline you get from playing through the entire game,” Owls senior forward Audrey Detrow said. “You just feel it and play with it.”

Naill took a timeout with 8:02 remaining in regulation in a 1-1 tie to remind her players that they had to score, or they would lose, and that it was up to them to determine whether they wanted to advance or not.

“That, in addition to everything adds to the pressure and the adrenaline you have when you’re on the field," Naill added.

The Owls took seven penalty corners in the first half and Detrow got her stick on all but three of them.

Junior attacker Julia Rogalski took a shot from about 20 yards out and the ball bounced off Detrow’s leg and into the back of the cage to give the Owls a 1-0 lead with 11:17 left to play in the first half.

Rogalski set up on the left side of the Huntingtown goal line to take a penalty corner for the Owls with under 40 seconds left in the first half. She sent the ball to the middle and Detrow coverted, but the goal was called back because the ball hit a player’s foot inside the scoring circle.

Huntingtown took two penalty corner opportunities in the first half — the first was fed into the center but shot high over the cage, and the Owls’ defense cleared the second.


Junior midfielder Margi DiPietro took a pair of penalty corners for the Owls early in the second half. The first was received by Kent, who crossed the ball to junior forward Kirby Henneman. Heinemann took a shot, but it was stopped by Huntingtown senior goalie Emma Taylor.

Hurricanes senior forward Alexa Zeruto scored with 19:50 left in regulation to tie things up.

“Starting off, I think we had great intensity,” Detrow said. "We got our goal, we got the second goal that got taken back and we still had good intensity but when they scored back, it took us back for a second. We were able to dig deep and pull through to get back out there and get that goal in overtime.”

Added Kent: “I feel like we were very intense in the first half, but in the second we started out slowly. We picked it up by picking up each other.”

Westminster junior goalie Megan Watkins stopped a Huntingtown shot, but the Hurricanes fired another right back that was then stopped by an Owls defender in the right corner of the cage with five minutes remaining.

After Kent scored the game-winner, the Owls celebrated and the team’s bench players rushed onto the field to join. The Owls made three straight appearances in the state finals from 2014-2016, and won their ninth state title overall in 2014.


They were state semifinalists in 2018.

The Owls defeated Mt. Hebron 2-0 to capture the 3A East Region 1 title last week, its 28th regional title overall and second-most in Maryland public school history. The Owls went on to shut out Rockville 4-0 in a 3A state quarterfinal to advance.

“They knew they had to settle down, play their game, and start communicating and supporting each other and we got back in it," Naill said.

Goals: H-Alexa Zeruto; W-Audrey Detrow, Jess Kent.

Assists: W-Emma Border.

Saves: H-8 (Emma Taylor); W-6 (Megan Watkins).

Halftime: Westminster, 1-0.