Garrison Forest's field hockey team has only four seniors on its 16-player roster, but the No. 6 Grizzlies showed plenty of maturity in yesterday's Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference opener at Severn.
Garrison Forest scored two goals in the first half and held off a surge by the No. 15 Admirals for a 2-1 victory.
Sophomore forward Martha Plack led the Grizzlies with a goal and an assist. She said her team matched up well with a much more experienced Severn team that has 13 seniors.
"We have a lot of sophomores who have played together, and I think it's nice to have a big group that works well together," said Plack, who is one of nine sophomores on the roster.
"I could definitely feel the difference in size and strength today, but I thought we played really well as far as composure. But they also played really well."
The Grizzlies (1-0) opened the scoring with 18:22 left in the first half when Alex Goldstein took a cross from Plack and found the far corner of the net from about 6 yards. The Grizzlies struck again five minutes later when Plack knocked in a loose ball in front of the goal for a 2-0 lead.
"We're very young and are predominantly a team of sophomores, with two of our four seniors new to varsity this year," Garrison Forest coach Traci Davis said. "They stepped up and did a really nice job. They've been working hard all along to get to this place. Overall, I'm very pleased how we came together. It's very hard when you lose eight seniors."
Severn (0-1) tried to come back early in the second half, but several scoring opportunities were rebuffed by Garrison Forest goalie Emily Cain (12 saves). The Admirals broke through with 20:24 left in the game when Josie Owen knocked in a pass from captain Lainey Rosson to make it 2-1.
With 4:30 left in the game, Rosson collected a loose ball in the midfield and dodged four defenders on her way forward, despite losing one of her shoes. However, her shot from 5 yards was stopped by Cain.
Severn coach Jessica Burke said her team came out flat in the first half but gradually found its rhythm and began communicating better.
The Admirals came close to tying the game in the closing seconds as they pushed several shots toward Garrison Forest's goal, but couldn't finish.
"I'll be playing those last 15 seconds over again and again in my mind," Burke said. "To do that against a good team like Garrison that finished first last year was a good measure for where we are."