After not scoring in back-to-back close losses to Westminster and Hereford,
the Dulaney field hockey team (10-6) solved the drought with three goals in a 3-0 victory over visiting Catonsville (7-6) in the Class 4A North Region Section I semifinals.
Junior midfielder Sidney Snyder was the offensive catalyst for the first two goals.
It took nearly half of the first half for her deposit the first goal, when her drive from the top dented the wood.
“I started the season in that same position, but was moved to center mid(fielder), but we have just been working on taking shots from the top because we were having a hard time through the middle of the season just getting shots off, so we have been working on that,” said Snyder, who scored with 15:33 left in the half.
Her second salvo from the top led to the second score.
Snyder’s shot was saved by Catonsville goalie Madison Manalansan and the rebound attempt by Kate Proefrock, was repelled sideways.
That’s where Audrey Dickens, lurking by the post, re-directed the ball into the cage.
“We’ve been working on taking shots from the top and we’ve kind of adjusted our lineup today to have her sitting at the top and that worked out for us,” Dulaney coach Kellie Fialcowitz said.
“We kept saying, ‘You’ve got to go to the ball, you’ve got to pressure the ball, you can’t let them get that shot up top,” Catonsville coach Barbara Bates said.
The Comets were playing without top midfielder, Sophia Larson, and their second-leading scorer, Caitlyn Baeck, played limited minutes.
“We knew it was going to be a challenge with Sophia not there because she handles so much in the middle, but Maggie (Marion) did a good job, but that’s hard,” said Bates, noting the senior Larson injured her knee on senior night.
Baeck was still recovering from illness.
“She has been sick so she’s been having to take it easy at practice and she can only play a couple minutes here and there and you know, not having your second-leading scorer, that kills you,” Bates said.
Dulaney’s blanket defense was difficult to penetrate for most of the contest, thanks to the hard work of senior Mae Dickens, junior Mae Jung and sophomore Amalia Hobbs.
“Basically, our whole defense was seniors last year, so we’ve had to move a couple of people around and we eventually have kind of found a good group that works together, but I think we all work hard, everybody wants the ball,” Dickens said.
That defense prevented any Catonsville shots, even when the Lions were down two players because of yellow cards, less than 10 minutes into the second half.
When they were even, Catonsville’s Bates had trouble noticing.
“Sometimes, I felt like they were playing so great I felt there was more out there of them, then us,” Bates said.
“A lot of it is in their heads, they know Dulaney is really strong and they just lost to Hereford only by a goal and they know how strong Hereford is.”
The Comets did make one one strong push and narrowly cut the lead in half with under 12 minutes left in regulation.
After three straight shots by Sydney Keagle were saved by Dulaney goalie Allie Merson, the next shot by Olivia Hershfeld clanked off the post.
A penalty stroke was awarded and Merson stopped the uncontested shot by junior Melissa Tolton.
“Catonsville has always been competition for us,” Dickens said. “We never look past them because they always seem to slide their way back in,” Dickens said. “Even though we’ve seemed to come out on top the past couple years, we can’t take them for granted.”
Her coach couldn’t agree more.
“You can’t count anybody out,” Fialcowitz said. “The last time we played them, we were up 3-0 and they came back and made it 3-2 and at this point in the season everybody wants it and it’s do or die.”
Carmen Roy assisted Lucy Jung for Dulaney’s final goal.
Fialcowitz had the perfect remedy to refresh her squad after they lost 1-0 to Hereford in the Baltimore County championship game.
“I gave them the day off and they did a team building thing together,” Fialcowitz said. “We came out and we focused yesterday and I think that day off, mentally and physically, really benefitted them.”
Catonsville gave up three goals in all three losses to the Lions and Bates knows they lost to a quality foe.
“They are a good team. They are a great team,” she said.