The year is coming to an end, so the Times put together a countdown of the top high school sporting events covered in 2019.
A Times reporter had to be present for the game to qualify for our countdown. Significance of the event played a major role, as did any championships at stake. We will unveil the top 15 five at a time, continuing with No. 10 through No. 6 today.
10. Boys Lacrosse: Westminster holds off Northern to capture second straight 3A state championship
Date: May 22
How it happened: The Owls were tested by a fourth-quarter push from the Patriots, but held on to win 9-8. Conner Covey led the team with five goals and an assist and twin brother Logan Covey totaled 15 saves in goal. The Owls led 8-4 midway through the third quarter, but Northern-Calvert scored three straight to pull within one. Covey stopped a point-blank shot in the fourth, and another Patriots shot hit the pipe, and the Owls hung on.
Significance: The victory marked the Owls’ third state title in program history, and they capped an undefeated season in the process. The Owls have won 37 games in a row dating back to 2018.
Quotable: “It’s a Day One motto, everyone knows what the goal is,” said midfielder Christian Etchison. “We’re not like other programs, we don’t shoot for winning a regional championship or going above .500. We shoot for being perfect all the time and Coach [Steve DeFeo] demands that out of us and we demand that out of each other. Our captains, me personally, probably got on the guys as much as Coach did this year just to demand that perfection we know we can achieve.”
9. Field Hockey: Liberty withstands Washington to claim Class 1A state title
Date: Nov. 9
How it happened: The Lions held on to their 2-1 lead despite some late pressure from Washington. Riley Pardoe and Caitlynn Szarko knocked in the Lions’ goals, and Szarko’s proved to be the game-winner.
Significance: The Lions went undefeated in 2019 en route to capturing their third state championship in four seasons. The team won a 1A state title in 2016 and earned the 2A state title last fall.
Quotable: “We’re finally seeing the practice that we do, and it’s paying off,” Pardoe said. “It’s giving us our goals, it’s why we’re winning.”
8. Boys Soccer: Liberty’s Andres Britos nets OT game-winner, Lions secure Carroll County Athletic League title
Date: Oct. 15
How it happened: Century led Liberty 2-1 late in the second half, and Knights goalie Ethan Ricketts made a series of point-blank saves before the Lions garnered a corner-kick opportunity. Britos took the kick, and Michael Pellicciotti knocked it into the goal to tie the score 2-2 with less than 7 minutes left in regulation. Britos, a sophomore, then scored the game-winner on a free kick with less than 2 minutes into the first OT period.
Significance: The victory gave Liberty its second county title in three seasons and its 16th overall.
Quotable: “It’s unbelievable,” Lions coach Dave Abarbanel said. “It’s pretty emotional, to be honest. Century was amazing tonight and we knew it was going to be a hard-fought game. They’re a talented team, a well-coached team, and I just told these guys I’m really proud of them and the way they fought back from adversity twice in this game. It just defines who we are as a team, very resilient.”
7. Boys Lacrosse: Westminster clips Linganore, escapes with a second straight 3A West title
Date: May 15
How it happened: Westminster started the game with a 3-0 run, but Linganore’s Roman LaRocco scored six goals to help the Lancers take a 7-3 lead midway through the second period. The Lancers led 8-7 at the half, and drew even with the Owls at 12-12 to open the fourth quarter, but the Owls never trailed again. A goal from Conner Covey put the Owls ahead 15-12, with 2:35 to play and the Lancers scored twice within minutes to come within one, but the Owls prevailed.
Significance: The victory was a true test for the Owls, and gave them their 35th consecutive win in beating the Lancers in a second consecutive regional final. Last year’s contest went to overtime before Covey scored the game-winner.
Quotable: “It’s one play at a time; we forget the last play,” said Logan Covey, who made 20 saves against the Lancers. “If they get a goal, it’s done. It’s onto the next one.”
6. Volleyball: Century plays ‘smart,’ takes down Oakdale to cap season with 2A state crown
Date: Nov. 16
How it happened: Century and Oakdale played a balanced match through the first two sets, but the Knights used powerful hitting that included seven kills from senior Caroline Mastria to capitalize on a few late Bears errors to take a 2-0 lead. The Knights committed eight service errors in the third set and the Bears pulled out a win to trim the lead 2-1. Century held on in the fourth set and led 16-11 at one point. Junior Mary Huber delivered the match point, a kill set up by senior setter Ali Whitworth, and Century won the fourth set 25-16, and the title.
Significance: The Knights had seen previous seasons end at the hands of Oakdale a handful of times, and the Bears gave the Knights another good fight. The Knights have made just two tournament appearances in program history, and both ended with a state title — the first came in 2011.