Third-seeded Old Mill shook off first-half tentativeness and went onto score a 1-0, stroke-off victory over second-seeded Annapolis last night in the state Class 4A Region III field hockey playoffs at Annapolis High.
Stroke-off goals by Amy Cox, Maryte Uleckas and Melinda Claybaugh earned the Patriots (9-3-1) a 3-1 stroke-off advantage and a trip south to Charles County tomorrow, where they will face top-seeded La Plata (11-0-2) in for the region title.
La Plata defeated fourth-seeded Arundel (7-6), 2-1, in yesterday afternoon's other semifinal. The Panthers, who defeated the Pats, 2-1, in a regular-season overtime duel, finished its season with an 8-4-1 mark.
"The key for us was that we weremore aggressive in the second half. Annapolis drives the ball so hard, that the girls would back away. Once we started challenging them, we took away some of their momentum," said winning coach Jo Funk.
Annapolis nearly ended the contest near the end of the second overtime, when Heather Knutson rallied on a breakaway, carrying the ball to within five yards of the goal, Terri Appleman turned back Knutson's point-blank attempt with two seconds showing on the clock.
The Panthers forced the initiative during the game's first 10 minutes. Appleman (12 saves) was called upon to make two out of her eight first-half saves during that span.
The Patriots slowly turned the tide within the next 10 minutes, earning several scoring chances within the 16-yard mark, but came up empty on three shots.
With less than four minutes remaining in regulation, the Annapolis missed another golden opportunity to score, as Appleman made an alert save on a Shannon Cordell shot. Nicole Deschamps missed a three-yard shot wide left.
Old Mill promptly moved the ball upfield less than a minute later, when Uleckas received a pass from Amy Cox. Uleckas' shot also went left.
"We wanted to win this game badly, and it's a shame because we have a lot of seniors on the team. We've worked hard all season long, and it's too bad it had to end like this," said Annapolis coach Tammy Janoskie.