Terri Hayman had her anterior cruciate ligament, the major ligament in the knee, reconstructed on May 30. For five months, the Oakland Mills senior worked hard to rehabilitate her left knee with one goal in mind.
Playing in the postseason.
"No matter what I had to do I was going to get back for the playoffs," said Hayman, a center midfielder.
Hayman made it back, playing in the Scorpions' second playoff game. Last night, she made it all the way back, scoring a first-half goal that paved the way for Oakland Mills' 2-0 victory over Hereford for the 1A-2A state title.
It's the second state championship in four years for 15th-ranked Oakland Mills (9-6-2), which ended the season with seven wins (six in the playoffs). All six of the Scorpions' losses were by one goal.
Except for the first 10 minutes of the second half, Oakland Mills dominated the game. The Scorpions controlled the midfield and never let ninth-ranked Hereford (11-5-1) get into any offensive rhythm.
"Their [Oakland Mills] offense put a lot of pressure on our defense," said Hereford freshman Melissa Mueller, the Bulls' leading scorer with seven goals. "They made it tough for our defense to get it out."
"I think the difference was the 50-50 and loose balls," said Hereford coach Steve Power. "They seemed to be a step quicker. Tonight they were the better team."
Said Hereford goalie Kate Macfarlane: "They played better than we did. They deserved to win. We have a strong defense. We have a good team. We just don't have anybody that can score."
Hayman's goal came with just over a minute left in the first half off a corner kick from Ginny Dye. The kick sailed into the middle, and Hereford back Jenn Jones found herself on the ground.
"She got flattened," said Macfarlane. "The ball bounced off of four players and I went one way and the ball went the other."
Said Hayman: "I just saw the ball and ran right through it. It hit off my knee brace."
Hereford got off only one shot in the second half and took just three in the game. Oakland Mills' defense, led by sweeper Michelle Osterberger, made the chilly night a relatively calm one for goalie Nyiesha Ford.
Power moved Macfarlane, an All-State goalie who also has four goals and four assists this season, to forward with 12 minutes left. Macfarlane never got a shot off, but Oakland Mills scored on new goalie Nancy Zentz on a shot from Noelle Brown off an assist from Dye with four minutes left.
For Dye and Hayman, who were both varsity players on the 1992 title team, it was a great way to end their careers.
"I feel so lucky that I've had such a wonderful experience," said Dye, who as a freshman scored the winning goal in the title game against Loch Raven. "To get to the finals three years [the Scorpions lost to Fallston last year] and to win twice is amazing."
It was coach Steve Matters' first title, and one that his team, even though once 1-5-2, thought could happen.
"I always felt if we played as we're capable of playing, we could do it," he said.