Carroll County field hockey seniors took to the field one last time Tuesday at McDaniel College's Kenneth R. Gill Stadium.
It wasn't a matchup between Manchester Valley and Winters Mill, or Century and Westminster. The girls were simply members of Team Blue or Team Pink and mixed with players from other schools.
Team Blue defeated Team Pink 5-2, but the seniors weren't there to compete for medals or trophies — they were there for an opportunity to play as Carroll's field hockey senior class once more.
"It's cool to mix with each other," Francis Scott Key senior defender Korey Fine said. "You know how everyone plays and it's cool to get together and play with one another."
Manchester Valley assistant coach Gayle Taylor said the senior all-star game has been going on for at least 12 years and it was previously held at a different county high school each time. Last year, in the Carroll County Athletic League, the county was split into two divisions — Cowan and Hersh — and the seniors were chosen for the two teams per division.
This year, Team Blue was combined with girls from Liberty, Manchester Valley, South Carroll, and Winters Mill. Team Pink fielded players from Century, Francis Scott Key, and Westminster.
"When we separate the two teams in pink and blue, which was the case tonight, you get to meet some of the girls you're playing against," Taylor said. "Some of them are those you might have just said 'Hi' to in passing but standing on the sideline, you get to know them a little bit more."
Liberty's Ashley Caldwell scored two goals Tuesday for the Blue team. Fine scored twice for Team Pink.
This year's game came just three days after two Carroll teams played in state championships at Washington College. Liberty captured the Class 1A title with a 2-0 victory over Queen Anne's, the Lions' first championship since 1982.
Westminster advanced to a state final for the 15th time in program history with hopes to garner its 10th crown, but fell 3-1 to Chesapeake in the 3A title game.
The level of competition in the county did not run thin this season. Fine, Winters Mill's Georgi Chiavacci, and Century's Sofia Filippi agreed that it is now more difficult to compete for a county title than in previous years.
"The talent has definitely grown," Filippi said. "The girls are much faster, especially now that we are playing to our advantage. You definitely see more movement to the ball. There's a lot of talent with this senior group and we can play to a college level. A lot of girls are coming in who have done Freedom [Area Rec Council] or another rec program. They've had that for a longer period of time than we did when we were kids."
"Since we were freshmen and were younger, the programs at all the high schools have been building," added Chiavacci, who scored for Team Blue. "The schools all have really good coaches and a lot of them have so much experience so from that, it just makes all the programs a lot bigger and better."
With the 2016 season complete, Taylor, who coaches the Majestx club field hockey team, is prepared to take her players indoors for the winter.
"The county is tough," Taylor said. "If you can make it out of your county, you've got a good shot at making it all the way. Two teams did make it to the finals and one won. With high school season being over, it's time for club and we're practicing Thursday."