The Westminster Owls were the final Carroll field hockey team to fall in an afternoon yesterday at Goucher College that could be described best as devastating.
With No. 10 North Carroll and defending Class 1A state champ Francis Scott Key already sent home for the season, the No. 7 Owls dominated in every aspect against Northern -- except on the scoreboard.
Northern senior Shannon McBain scored her second goal of the day with 4:18 remaining in the first sudden-death overtime period to lift the Patriots to a 2-1 win over the Owls in the Class 4A state semifinals.
Just how dominant were the Owls, seeded second, throughout the day?
They outshot the third-seeded Patriots, 27-4, had a 23-2 edge in penalty corners and were simply the more talented team.
It will be 10-2-3 Northern, however, which advances to the state finals to face Severna Park on Saturday. Another strong Westminster season comes to an end at 11-4.
In all their years of coaching -- Brenda Baker's 17th and Sue Hooper's 23rd, the past 12 as Westminster co-coaches -- neither could recall dominating in such a grand fashion only to come up on the losing end.
"There was the Centennial game [a 2-1 loss in the regular season], but nothing like this," said Baker.
The difference yesterday was two Northern fast breaks and some standout defensive play led by senior goalie Kenna Brigham, who had with 16 saves.
"I think they were similar to us in coming here looking to win. I think our skills were higher, but the desire was the same," Baker said.
Added Hooper: "We played our best and all the kids gave 100 percent. We just couldn't buy a goal."
After a scoreless first half, Northern senior Kelly Sweeney broke free along the right side six minutes into the second half. Her last dribble inside the circle was too far in front of her, enabling Westminster goalie Andrea Kirby to come out and kick it aside. Sweeney retrieved the loose ball and sent it in the middle to McBain, who pushed it home with Kirby still scrambling to get back in the net.
It was only the second scoring chance the Patriots had to that point and only the fourth or fifth time the ball was on Westminster's defensive side.
The Owls maintained their composure following the goal and quickly went back to work on offense. All day long, Ann Brennan, Kristy Matthai, Jen Medura and company were buzzing around in the Northern circle.
With 7:45 remaining in regulation, Medura scored a goal in front to solve Brigham.
When asked if she had seen that kind of constant pressure, Brigham quickly came back with a resounding "No."
The Patriots' overtime goal came shortly after a counter awarded them their second penalty corner of the day. McBain scored off a rebound in close along the left side.
Baker and Hooper agreed sometimes it's better not to dominate but rather to catch the opponent's defense with fast breaks. That certainly was the case yesterday.