A young and inexperienced Hereford field hockey team started to believe when it bunched together a few quality victories against rivals Dulaney, Towson and Catonsville in the middle of the season.
That confidence was tested by Towson late in the second half of last night's Baltimore County championship game. The No. 9 Bulls passed.
Junior midfielder Austin Riley, stick down and ready in front, scored the game-winner on a centering pass from Andrea Pace with 6:22 left in regulation, lifting the Bulls to a 2-1 victory over the No. 14 Generals at Catonsville.
Hereford (12-2) will take a nine-game winning streak into the regional playoffs. The Generals, who got a tying goal from senior forward Caitlin Powers with just less than 10 minutes to play, fall to 9-4.
"They have a lot of poise, a lot of heart," Hereford coach Julia Wilson said. "We've come back from behind a couple times and have been able to win. It's a young team, so I think that they don't have the expectations that teams heavily stacked with seniors may have. Our girls just try to do the best they can, have a great season and didn't necessarily expect we'd be here this year."
After taking control of the game in the latter stages of the first half, the Bulls were finally rewarded early in the second half when Taylor Cummins scored four minutes in. They withstood steady pressure from the Generals until Powers broke through to tie the score.
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NO. 3 GARRISON FOREST 1, NO. 5 BRYN MAWR 0:: Alex Goldstein scored the only goal of the game late in the first half as the Grizzlies (14-1-1) defeated the visiting Mawrtians.
NO. 8 ARCHBISHOP SPALDING 2, NO. 12 ST. MARY'S 1, OT:: Rachel Hannon's overtime goal gave the Cavaliers (11-5-1) the win over the visiting Saints (10-6).
FALLSTON 2, PERRYVILLE 1: : Jenn Ward and Krissy Fusco each had a goal and the Cougars (14-1) held on to defeat the Panthers (12-3) for the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference title.
SEVERN 3, ROLAND PARK 2, OT:: Molly Manson scored with 1:20 remaining in the first overtime to give the Admirals (3-12-1) the victory over the visiting Reds.
RESERVOIR 4, GLENELG 0:: Junior Kelsey Reiff had a hat trick to lead the Gators (9-3-1) over the visiting Gladiators (5-6).
NO. 11 CHESAPEAKE-ANNE ARUNDEL 1, BROADNECK 0:: Josh Klaiss scored in the second half to break a scoreless tie and the Cougars (10-1-1) held on to defeat the visiting Bruins. Klaiss headed a throw-in from Jered Fohs past the Broadneck goalkeeper to give the Cougars the lead.
ATHOLTON 1, HAMMOND 0, 2OT:: Tyler Parker scored with six minutes left in the second overtime to give the Raiders (7-4-1) the win over the host Bears.
Baltimore Sun reporters contributed to this article.