No. 7 Fallston survived a goalie crisis yesterday to edge North Harford, 2-1, and remain unbeaten in the Harford County field hockey league.
Injury and illness sidelined all of the visiting Cougars' regular goalies. Starter Jenny Smith was sick. Smith's backup, junior varsity starter Nicole DePinho, broke her finger Monday, and the junior varsity reserve was sick.
So Amy Bauersfeld volunteered for her first-ever stint in the cage. She turned in a fine debut, allowing one goal and finishing with three saves -- all in the second half.
"Amy just played fantastic," forward Pam Gauss said. "But [the offense] felt the pressure. Mrs. [Alice] Puckett said we had to come out and score really quick to take the pressure off the defense."
The Cougars (9-1 overall, 5-0 league) followed coach Puckett's advice, scoring their first goal less than five minutes into the game.
Fallston pressured the Hawks (3-6-1, 2-2-1) right from the opening whistle. Hawks goalie Kristin Archer saved the first Fallston shot. But when she came out and kicked the ball away, Lauren Grabowski chipped a slow roller to Gauss on the far side of the cage. Gauss punched the ball into the open cage.
Over the last two weeks, the Cougars have scored in the first five minutes three times -- also in wins over C. Milton Wright and Bel Air. Puckett wanted the same quick start against North Harford, a team that almost always stays within one goal of the Cougars.
"The longer you let them in the game, the more excited they get, because they realize they have a shot at you," Puckett said. "If you can come out and get a goal, they say, 'Here we go, again,' instead of 'Oh, we can play with them.' "
Fallston added a second goal with 9:05 left in the first half. Kara Jackson set up the score with a pass from just outside the circle. The ball deflected off a defender's stick to Nicole Taylor cutting in on the far side.
North Harford threatened early in the second half and finally got on the board with 11:20 left in the game. Tracy Folck scored on a pass from Chrissy Pardew to pull the Hawks within one. But the Hawks never threatened again.
The Cougars need one county win to clinch the county championship.