Western's girls soccer team has been on a mission this fall to take back the Baltimore City championship. After Monday's 2-0 victory over defending champ City College, the Doves are within a game of their goal.
If the Doves can get past Patterson in their final league game tomorrow, the title will be theirs.
"It means the world to us, especially the seniors," said Doves senior Melinda McLaughlin, "because after we lost the championship to City last year, that was our only goal for this year. We wanted to get it back before we left."
McLaughlin scored the second goal Monday on a penalty kick. Star Tazwell had the first goal, her team-leading 14th of the season, on an assist from Sarah Chilton.
The Doves had won seven straight championships before City snatched the title last season. City seemed headed for a repeat after edging the Doves, 1-0, in their first meeting on Sept. 19.
Both teams could finish with identical 6-1-1 league records, but if they do, the Doves would take the title based on head-to-head goal differential.
Monday's game at Western took on a playoff atmosphere and McLaughlin said it felt as if the Doves had clinched the title -- especially because they already have beaten Patterson by a decisive 4-1 margin.
"We can't get overconfident," McLaughlin said, "but we realized how big a deal it was. There's a lot of dedication on this team and we just remember how we felt after losing to City. After the first goal [Monday], we just started jumping up and down and screaming, because we knew we could win."
Garrison Forest's field hockey team has turned more than a few heads in the past two weeks, knocking off two ranked teams and tying another. As a result, the Grizzlies have gone from unranked to No. 13 to No. 8.
Monday's 0-0 tie at No. 4 St. Paul's was the strongest indication yet that the Grizzlies (7-1-1) can contend with any team in the tough Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference.
Against the Gators (5-2-2), Grizzlies goalie Gina D'Anna made three saves to preserve the tie while Garrison's attack outshot St. Paul's 10-4.
"We have a really well-rounded team of girls who have worked together for a number of years," said Grizzlies coach Traci Davis. "A bunch of them went to camp this summer and they've worked hard from the preseason. They're highly motivated and they have confidence."
The Grizzlies have posted seven shutouts and have allowed only three goals all season behind the defensive core of Lauren Sheets, Lauren Misera, Kait Gentry and Maura Anderson.
There is also the balanced scoring contingent of Erica Chan, Kirby Houck, Alexandra Ewing and Emily Medina, who have helped the Grizzlies outscore the opposition, 26-3.
Gators roll up shutouts
Perry Hall's girls soccer team has posted eight shutouts and allowed just two goals to help the Gators to a 9-0-1 start.
Sweeper Ashley Carroll and backs Kristen Townsley, Kirsten Gauvin and Allie Barreiro along with rotating goalies Brittany Gelwicks and Cathy Vecchioni have kept opposing offenses in check.
"Last year we had a real experienced defense," said Gators coach Brad Kressman. "Now, we have three 10th-graders [on defense] and we have the same stats. We have a lot of talent and this is as unified a unit as I've ever had."
The Gators' unbeaten start is somewhat surprising given that Kressman graduated a dozen players from last year's 10-2-1 squad. He has nine sophomores on this team.
"It's been unbelievable," said Kressman, whose team's only blemish is a 1-1 deadlock with Fallston. "For a long time, we've just tried to stay under the radar, take it one game at a time and get better."
The Gators, whose top scorers are Lori Carpenter with eight goals and Brittany McKew with six assists, face perhaps their toughest game Tuesday. They play host to No. 13 Parkville in a 3:45 p.m. match that could earn the winner a spot in the Baltimore County championship.
Both teams are unbeaten in Division I -- Perry Hall at 6-0 after yesterday's 3-0 win at Western Tech and Parkville at 4-0.
Power gets 100th win
Hereford girls soccer coach Steve Power earned his 100th career victory when the Bulls beat Dundalk on Thursday. The Bulls have won three county championships, four regional championships and shared a state title since Power took over in 1993. His career record stands at 103-28-12.