For the fifth time in the past six years under coach Kellie Fialcowitz, the Dulaney field hockey won a regional championship when the host Lions (11-6) captured a 1-0 decision over Old Mill (8-7).
It was the third straight year Dulaney defeated the Patriots, but this one on a sunny Halloween afternoon, was much more frightening then last year’s 4-0 verdict.
Dulaney senior attackman Zoe Hermann scored the game’s only goal off an assist by Lucy Jung with 13:04 left in the game and the score held up.
Hermann started the scoring play with a shot saved by Old Mill goalie Becca Creekmore.
The ball kicked out to Kate Proefrock and her pass into the box was back-sticked by Hermann to Jung. Jung crossed it back to Hermann and she dented the cage.
“Lucy Jung was sitting on post and it went past the goalie and it was just there for me to pick up,” Hermann said.
The goal came before the Lions got their first penalty corner, which was their first after a scoreless half.
“At halftime, our main goal was just to get a corner and with that, the ball will fall into our offensive end,” Hermann said.
“We didn’t have a corner the entire first half, which was frustrating,” Dulaney coach Kellie Fialcowitz said. “We only had one corner the entire game.”
The Lions didn’t get their first and only corner until 11 minutes left in the game.
Old Mill controlled the time of possession in Dulaney’s zone for much of the first half, thanks to aggressive play from Anne Arundel’s All-County junior first team midfielder Kaiya Sabur and senior Erin Osborne.
The first shot of the game from Old Mill’s Sabur, that leaked wide ,came with 20:30 left in the first half.
“I have said every game this season that you need to score early, draw corners the first two minutes and often,” said Old Mill coach Heather Arnold. “We knew Dulaney was going to come out ready to play us, they are a well-coached team and they have a tradition of being strong and fast.”
The first shot on goal came from junior Angelo Jones and it was brushed away by Dulaney goalie Allie Merson with 14:20 remaining in the half.
Dulaney’s first shot period came from Sidney Snyder and it went wide with 15:10 left until intermission.
Old Mill had only one penalty corner (five overall) in the first half and it was thwarted by Emily Mowbray.
“We came out a little flat from the top and we needed to sort of recover from that and we made a couple of adjustments and it worked for us,” Fialcowitz said. “They came out hard in the second half. They came out ready to play.”
One of the adjustments was making sure Sabur had less room to operate.
“She is very good,” Hermann said. “We noticed she had an awesome ball down the field to get them a fast break, so we just tried to cover her a little bit more in the middle and we tried to protect ourselves on their free hits so that we could stop the ball and get it away from her.”
The strategy worked, but the Patriots did have some scoring chances before Hermann’s goal.
Sabur’s solo fast break led to a penalty corner, but inserter Shelby Kingston’s pass to Sabur led to a wide shot by Emma Fontz early in the second half.
An intercepted pass by Elaina Creekmore set up another corner, but it was foiled by Dulaney defender Mae Dickens.
With just over 16 minutes left, Osborne had a breakaway and her shot was wide.
After Hermann finally broke the ice, the Lions were the ones that peppered the circle, thanks the hard work of midfielders Bridget Kelly, Audrey Dickens, Mowbray and Snyder.
In a short span, with under 10 minutes to go, they got consecutive shots from Proefrock, Hermann, Snyder, Jung and Hermann again, but three were saved by Creekmore and two were wide.
Fittingly, on Oct. 31, the final two minutes were scary for the Dulaney defense that included Dickens, Emma Chandler, Amalia Hobbs and Mae Jung at various times.
One penalty corner didn’t yield a shot and another was jumped and cleared by Dickens.
Sabur did have one other trick up her sleeve, carrying the ball in the air several yards up the field, like it was riding on a broomstick, and dropping it in the circle.
Dickens again was there to vanish the threat and preserve the victory for the Lions,
The win was the eighth regional title in the past nine years and this will be their 15th trip to the final four.
They reached the finals in 1986, 2010 and 2017, but have never won a state title.
Last year’s Lions won 18 straight games before falling in the finals to South River.
Dulaney will play Churchill in the state semifinals at 7 p.m., on Nov. 5, at Paint Branch, but Hermann was still enjoying this victory.
“This is awesome, a good team win, it’s good to win a close game like that, it makes it even more rewarding,” Hermann said.