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Region crowns for Bel Air, Fallston field hockey teams

Perryville's Krissy McDuff lifts the ball over the stick of Fallston's Danielle Whiston as she moves in for the steal during Wednesday's Class 1A North title gameat Fallston. The Cougars won, 2-0.
Perryville's Krissy McDuff lifts the ball over the stick of Fallston's Danielle Whiston as she moves in for the steal during Wednesday's Class 1A North title gameat Fallston. The Cougars won, 2-0. (MATT BUTTON | AEGIS STAFF, Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Field hockey teams from Bel Air and Fallston each won region championships Wednesday, both shutting out the opposition on home fields.

Fallston shut out Perryville, 2-0, to win the Class 1A North title, while Bel Air blanked Towson, 1-0, to win the 3A North crown, its first region title in two decades.

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Both Harford teams will play in state semifinal action next week at Broadneck High School in Anne Arundel County. The Cougars will meet Pocomoke on Monday at 5 or 7 p.m. Bel Air will face either Chesapeake-Anne Arundel or Westminster on Wednesday at 5 or 7 p.m.

Fallston scored two goals in the game's first 15 minutes then played stingy defense the rest of the way in its defeat of the Panthers. The win gave the Cougars their 23rd region championship.

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Fallston (9-7-1) dominated the first half over the Panthers (9-6), who beat the Cougars, 1-0, just a few weeks back.

"The first game, we could not score, we could not put the ball in the cage, so us scoring first today, mentally, I think was the key to the game," Cougars coach Alice Puckett said. "You know, we really had a rough season. We play a really tough schedule, we play Spalding and teams that are really good and we never were humiliated by anybody, but they certainly exposed what we needed to work on."

It worked as Fallston controlled much of the first half, which led to a corner opportunity 10 minutes into the game.

At the 19:36 mark, the Cougars capitalized. Maddie Hurlburt played the corner hit to Becky Streett. Streett pushed the ball down near the cage to Liz Hebert, who controlled it, turned and hit a low shot past Panthers goalie Lacie Flores for the score.

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Just over four minutes later, the Cougars had the ball out in front of the Perryville goal. After a brief scramble, Jane Bradley banged the ball into the cage for the 2-0 lead.

The Panthers first real scoring chance came with 11 minutes left in the first half, but Fallston goalie Caitlin Phillips made her only save of the half to keep the Panthers off the board.

Perryville played a much better second half, producing a handful of scoring chances, but the Cougars defense would not break.

Phillips, in goal, made six second half saves, including five of pure quality away from the goal, to keep the Panthers scoreless.

"You just have to know when to make the right decisions and you have to cut off all their angles and knowing when to go out is just really, really key and I feel like I did pretty good with that today and my defense is just a wall," goalie Phillips said.

"I want to credit the defense for doing the right thing, I mean trying to teach high school kids to take the ball to the sideline," Puckett said. "It's taken a lot of time for us to get them to buy into this concept."

Those Cougars' defenders are Hurlburt, Katherine Lofland, Kate Bradley and Danielle Whiston

The Panthers best scoring chance may have come in the first five minutes of the second half. Phillips made a save away from the goal, but the ball stayed in play and headed toward the goal. Lofland got to the ball and steered it toward the sideline and away from the goal.

"We've been a second half team all season," Panthers coach Janet Candy said. "We just didn't want to go down without a fight. We felt that we definitely were a team that had the potential to score, twice in the second half and make a comeback. Had a great second half, I thought."

Perryville goalie Lacie Flores finished with seven saves.

They're good, they're a good team and you probably saw that competitive part of them today," Puckett said of Perryville.

Bobcats champs, too

Bel Air's win gave the Bobcats (1-4) their ninth region title and first since 1994.

"We went into the game knowing that Towson would be an aggressive opponent and we couldn't back down for a minute," Bobcats coach Emily Zorbach said. "Our passing game was precise and our girls did an excellent job double teaming the Generals. Bel Air High School field hockey won the Regional Championship in 1994 and it was an amazing feeling to bring the title back to Bobcat Nation."

The game's only goal was scored by Anna Farley, nine minutes into the first half. The goal was unassisted.

Bobcats goalie Morgan Domanico finished with five saves.

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