Atholton's field hockey team lost for the 23rd straight time last Friday. And as the Raiders walked of the field at Mount Hebron after the 9-1 loss, they couldn't have been any happier.
"We were happy, we were really happy," said Atholton sophomore forward Lauren Giddings.
See what happens when you score a goal.
The Raiders (0-9 overall, 0-7 league) had gone 22 games without scoring, starting with a 1-0 playoff loss to Long Reach two years ago. They finished 0-13 last season, losing five games by 1-0 and five by 2-0.
Giddings put an end to the Raiders' frustration near the end of the first half, making the score 5-1 at halftime. But who cared about the score?
"Karen [Brownlee] drove it into the circle and passed it to me," Giddings said. "I was on the right side of the cage and drove it into the left corner. It hit the back of the cage. I remember the sound.
"I turned around and Karen and I sprinted toward each other. We ran into each other so hard that we almost fell over."
Giddings said she was "screaming," but nothing particular. "Just screaming," she said.
Teammate Emily Benson got the ball out of the cage, handed it to Giddings and told her "to run it up" to midfield. She did.
"I was so happy," Giddings said.
Giddings, who scored one of only two goals the JV team recorded last season, said the scoreless streak was difficult on the team.
"It was pretty hard," Giddings said. "Even at school people would say stuff, and that would make me mad. We work really hard even though we lose. I still really want to win a game, but it's a relief to say we scored."
Glenelg (9-2, 6-0) plays host to Mount Hebron (6-4-2, 5-1-1) Tuesday in a field hockey game with county title implications. Long Reach (6-2-2, 3-1-2) and River Hill (5-4-2, 4-1-2) still remain in contention.
The postseason tournament draw for volleyball, field hockey and boys/girls soccer will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Maryland State Department of Education, 200 West Baltimore St.
Unlike past years when the draw was held in high school auditoriums with door prizes and much fanfare, this one will be low key.
"We're holding it in the board room," said Ned Sparks, executive director of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association. "The public can come, but we're not expecting many people."
Sparks said the draw should be on the MPSSAA's web page -- www.mpssaa.org -- by 8 p.m.
The county race got tighter with Centennial's upset 1-0 victory of top-ranked River Hill last Friday.
With three league games remaining, Centennial, Mount Hebron and River Hill are 5-1. The Eagles play -- in order -- Wilde Lake (3-3), Howard (0-6) and Oakland Mills (2-4); Mount Hebron, which beat the Eagles, 1-0, Oct. 8, plays Glenelg (4-2), River Hill and Wilde Lake; and River Hill takes on Hammond (3-3), Mount Hebron and Howard.
Centennial sophomore Samantha Test said the Eagles came into the game against River Hill "wanting to knock them off their high horse. We were the underdog and had something to prove."
The Hawks passed well in the first half and dominated play, outshooting the Eagles, 8-1. But Centennial goalie Erica Niemann was up to the task, and the Eagles felt confident after a scoreless first half.
"They definitely dominated the first half, but it was 0-0, and we realized we could play with them," Test said. "It definitely pumped us up."
The Eagles became the aggressor in the second half, intercepting passes and beating the Hawks to the ball. They got their break when Test scored on a breakaway with 13 minutes remaining in the game.
Senisi had senior midfielder Alison Woods concentrate more on defense after the goal, but kept his team's aggressive style play rather then become defensive.
"I thought we were controlling the game," Senisi said. "I thought if we went defensive too early it would mess up our game plan."
River Hill, which created many opportunities off long throw-ins by freshman Megan Buescher, rallied in the final minutes and had chances. Shannon Jackson missed to the left on a shot from inside the box, and Rashida Walcott's pass from the left side passed through the goal area and just ahead of the charging Kelsey Cronin and Jamie Goertler.
"It was kind of frantic," said Niemann, who got excellent support from her sweeper, Carolyn Schmid.
River Hill coach Joan Kelso Smedley complimented Niemann, who had eight saves. "Erica's a good keeper. She's going to keep them in the game."
Smedley said the loss will allow her team to "concentrate on taking one game at a time and not worry about being undefeated or rankings."
"We tried and worked hard but were on the short end of the stick," Smedley said. "They're going to remember how this feels the rest of the season and we'll use this to our advantage."
Top-ranked River Hill (9-1 overall, 9-0 league) and second-ranked Centennial (8-2, 8-1) meet Wednesday at Centennial.
"You can expect a well-played match from both sides, with fewer mistakes from us," said Centennial coach Mike Bossom, whose team lost to the Hawks, 15-9, 15-8, 15-11 on Sept. 27.
Centennial has gone to a 5-1 attack, and Hawks coach Sybil Modispacher said her team is ready.
"I know that they've changed their offense," said Modispacher. "We've adjusted to what we expect from them, and we've changed some stuff that we do."