UNIONTOWN — Francis Scott Key’s five seniors each signed their names on a banner that draped over the Eagles’ home bench following the team’s 17-6 victory over South Hagerstown on Tuesday.
It was Senior Night, and the Eagles got to celebrate with a decisive victory — and cookies.
The victory snapped a three-game losing skid for the Eagles, who closed out Carroll County Athletic League play with an 18-10 loss to Winters Mill on April 25.
“Tonight, we just went out really strong because we wanted a win,” said senior midfielder Lakota Comeau. “It’s really coming to an end and we’re not going to be able to play with these girls or other teams ever again so it’s really said, but we’re happy because this was a good chapter of our lives.”
FSK sophomore Paige Bussells paced the team with five goals and freshman defensive midfielder Hunter Kalin added three goals and an assist. Freshman goalie Ashlyn Watkins made nine saves for the Eagles (5-6).
It took just seven seconds for FSK to get on the board first when junior Emma Shipton won the opening draw and tossed the ball off to Bussells, who found the back of the net. The Eagles scored the next three goals before Cheyenne Price got South High on the board.
The Eagles dominated at the draw and netted the next three goals in about two minutes, 20 seconds. The Rebels scored twice to come within four of FSK, but Delaney Stalnaker tossed a low shot into the net to give the Eagles an 8-3 lead at the break.
“I think it’s really important to win the draw, especially that first draw,” senior defender Haley Sawyers said. “It sets off the tempo for the entire game and you want to be that team setting that tempo.”
FSK opened the second half on a 5-0 scoring spurt and the Rebels faced difficulty defending the host team. Freshman attacker Mackenzie Wilhide scored back-to-back goals in that span. South Hagerstown’s Mackenzie Wright scored each of her three goals in the second half and brought the Rebels within eight, 14-6.
Kayla Ziegenheim, Stalnaker, and Bussells fired off the last three goals for the Eagles.
“I think we've improved a lot from last year,” Bussells said. “We’ve gotten to know each other better and how each other plays so we know how to work together with that and use each other’s strengths to our advantage. Our teamwork has gotten a lot better.”
The Eagles won 11 draws and controlled 23 loose balls, keeping the Rebels at bay.
The victory got the Eagles back on track — they won four in a row before dropping three straight — and they travel to North Hagerstown on Thursday to close out the regular season. Then it’s onto the Class 1A West Region playoffs.
“I’m really proud of these girls,” said coach Michelle Hodiak. “We’ve had our ups and we’ve had our downs, but these girls are resilient.”
Added Sawyers: “It’s been an uphill battle. We’re getting there.”