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Semifinal loss can't spoil Pikesville's party

The Baltimore Sun

The girls from the Pikesville field hockey team began dancing to the music of Kanye West and Soulja Boy in the minutes after last night's Class 1A state semifinal matchup against Pocomoke. There was laughter, giggling, screaming and a whole lot of happy faces - not much sadness.

Pikesville wasn't expecting to win against the four-time defending state champion, and Pocomoke's 14-0 rout of the Panthers at Broadneck was a truly dominating performance for the Worcester County school.

The Warriors broke it open with five goals in nine minutes midway through the first half en route to an 8-0 halftime lead. Erica Henderson led Pocomoke (15-2) with four goals and one assist, and Natalie Parks added three goals.

This was the second consecutive year that Pocomoke rolled over the Panthers in the state semifinals - it was 7-0 last year - but the Panthers weren't hanging their heads. This was Pikesville's second consecutive trip to the Class 1A state semifinals, and the Panthers (6-10) wanted to find some good from the tough night.

"We just tried to have fun with it," sophomore forward Jara Title said. "We just did the best we could and didn't worry about it. We had some good energy and sportsmanship on the field."

Pikesville was simply overmatched against Pocomoke, a team that has won 14 state titles, second only to Severna Park's 16. The Panthers shut out Carver A&T;, Harford Tech and Joppatowne by a combined 11-0 in three playoff games to win their second straight region title.

But they just couldn't stay with Pocomoke. The Warriors made precise passes and used their speed and smarts to come up with easy scoring chances.

However, Pikesville kept it all in perspective. Coach Holly Talbert emptied her bench in the second half, and those who were finished playing cheered loudly and laughed throughout.

They enjoyed being a region champion once again, and their behavior made Talbert smile as she watched several of the Panthers dancing while talking to parents and friends afterward.

"We were playing against a dynasty," Talbert said. "Field hockey is all about having fun for them, and I'm so glad they can."

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