Trying to score a goal on the North Carroll defense these days is like taking a miserable two-part exam.
It's tough enough maneuvering through a talented Panthers defense, but if and when that's accomplished, the next part is getting the ball past junior goalie Becky Bosley.
Going into last night's game against Frederick, Bosley and the No. 6 Panthers (7-2) have yielded just three goals.
Bosley has turned back 43 shots, giving her an astounding save percentage of 93 percent. This coming from a player who just began playing field hockey three seasons ago, starting as a defender on the Panthers junior varsity team as a freshman before moving to varsity and the goal last season.
Ask Bosley and it will sound like this season has been like a sunny day at the park for her.
"Our season is going great. We have a great offense, a great defense and I'm just enjoying my time back there," she said.
Bosley's quick transition in goal was made easier by the fact she's a catcher for the North Carroll softball team. "Playing catcher, you get used to taking a couple of shots here and there," she said. "You're always moving to keep the ball in front of you in both sports and having played catcher for a long time has helped out a lot."
North Carroll coach Denean Koontz said there are certain qualities needed to be a solid goalie in field hockey. "You have to be quick and aggressive and must be able to anticipate and ready to move in any direction," she said.
Bosley brings all that and more, and what impresses Koontz the most about her keeper is her team-first attitude and fierce competitiveness.
"She'll do anything for this team. Becky Bosley is a go-getter in whatever she does, not just field hockey," Koontz said. "Usually you have keepers who stop what they should stop. She does that and also gets to a lot of the ones we don't think she can even get near. Quickness is one of the best aspects about her, she reacts so well."
Bosley and Koontz both credit the Panthers overall balance this season. The offense has a number of capable scorers and have often kept the ball up the other end of the field. The defense -- led by mainstays Diana Vaughan, Tara Walker and Heather Lynch -- pack it in inside the circle and Jackie Chase anchors the midfield as the team's only senior.
Still, some nights are busier than others for Bosley. The Panthers' two losses this season have both been 1-0 setbacks against a No. 4 Westminster team (9-0) that has scored elsewhere in bunches. Bosley had 18 saves in the first match against the Owls with the Panthers playing on more even terms the second time around before falling in overtime.
"She's very quick and very consistent," said Westminster co-coach Sue Hooper. "She also moves well around the goal and anticipates well. The last goal in overtime, she wasn't expecting [Westminster forward] Ann [Brennan] to whiff on the first shot and when [Brennan] did, she got caught off-guard on the second one."