Dulaney needed no more offense than Nicole Govignon's reverse-stick goal early in the first half yesterday to upset No. 13 Hereford, 1-0, in a key Baltimore County Heron Division field hockey game at Hereford.
Just 6:45 into the game, the senior forward took a short pass from Allie Benson and fired the ball from just off the right post. Sliding Hereford goalie Christina Restivo could not cut off the angle.
"Allie hit it to the outside of the post," said Govignon, "and I just did a reverse stick and nailed it into the opposite corner."
With the goal in the books, Lions defenders Sarah Brebner, Leigh Gatlin, Tracey Bochenek and Sarah Creighton made the lead hold up. They posted their second shutout in three games.
Yesterday, they kept goalie Erin Jordan from having to make any saves at all. They stifled the Bulls' efforts to tie with strong defensive stands late in each half.
"This is the first game that I feel like our defense was really challenged and they pulled through," said coach Cathy Fisher, who guided the Lions to the state Class 4A semifinals in 1998 before taking a year off. "This is an excellent win."
Although the Bulls managed just one shot - and it sailed wide - they put pressure on the Lions for much of the last 10 minutes of the first half. Lions fouls gave the Bulls a penalty corner and a half dozen free hits inside the 25-yard line, but the Bulls could not convert.
The Bulls also dominated a four-minute stretch beginning with eight minutes left in the second half. Despite four corners, they came up empty although, on the first corner play, Sarah Tracey sent a perfect pass from high in the circle to the far post that was deflected wide."[Dulaney has] a great defense," said Bulls senior Erin Woods, "and we didn't seem able to do it today. We have a lot of fire and a lot of determination, but we have to work on working together and connecting better."
The Lions (3-0 overall and in the division) dominated much of the rest of the game, finishing with 10 shots and 10 penalty corners. Their victory is a big early-season boost in what is shaping up to be a tight Heron Division race.
"This gives us a lot of confidence," said Creighton, "because Hereford's a really good team. This will help us focus on our goal of going to states - and winning counties first."
At 2-1 in the division, the young Bulls are not out of the race for the county title they won four straight years before surrendering it to Catonsville last year.
"I really don't think this loss is going to hurt us," said Woods. "If anything, we're going to come out stronger."
State Class 1A co-champs two years ago, the Bulls (2-2 overall) are looking forward to getting their top player, Lindsay Roberts, back full time. Roberts played about half of yesterday's game, her first game action since suffering a sprained ankle two weeks ago.
"Lindsay really sets the tone for us," said Hereford coach Tammy Mundie. "We have a lot of younger kids and they're not used to the pace I want them to play. Now they've seen Roland Park and Dulaney and they know the pace they have to play to compete with them."