PRINCE FREDERICK -- High school field hockey games usually run for 30 minutes per half, but Annapolis and Calvert could have played just the last two minutes of the second half of their Class 4A, South Region final yesterday.
There was only 1:15 remaining when a scramble in front of the goal produced the game's only tally.
Calvert forward Kelly Collins got a stick on the ball and put it through the legs of Panthers goalie Lindsey Kovelent, sending the Cavaliers to the state semifinals.
"I was afraid it would come down to a goal like that," said Annapolis coach Jennifer Russell. "Both teams were playing very well on defense and whoever could keep it in front of the goal longer was going to come out on top. That just wasn't us today."
Cavaliers coach Kim Roof gave most of the credit for her team's victory to her defense.
"We knew it was probably going to be a one- or two-goal game," said Roof. "Our backs, especially center-back Tracy Tucker, helped keep the ball on their end most of the game. When Annapolis did get in front of the goal, they got it out fast."
Annapolis had dropped a 1-0 overtime contest to Calvert early in the season and it looked from the opening tap that this would be another close game. The first half was relatively even with the Panthers outshooting the Cavaliers 6-4 and the Cavaliers leading 2-1 in penalty corners.
The second half started with Annapolis controlling the opening five minutes. The Panthers threw several shots at the Calvert goal but couldn't beat keeper Jess Kwiatkoski, who even bunted a high shot back into play.
Once the Cavaliers got the ball on the Panthers' side, that's where it stayed. Calvert had 13 shots on goal and seven penalty corners in the second half.
When Annapolis' long hits made it out to midfield, Calvert backs Tucker, Sara Haring and Janel Baki were there to send it back toward the Panthers' goal.
"They did a good job of stopping our drives," said Russell. "We started putting the ball in the air but that didn't work any better."