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No. 6 Hereford field hockey wins Baltimore County title with shootout victory over No. 14 Dulaney

Stepping up to the ball after 80 minutes of stalemate field hockey against Dulaney, Hereford sophomore Riley Hackett found herself in the situation that every young athlete dreams about.

After a tripping call in the final round of a 1-v-1 shootout in Tuesday night’s Baltimore County field hockey championship game, Hackett took her stance 7 yards in front of the goal. Make her penalty stroke, and the host Bulls were county champions.

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“I always practice strokes, waiting for the momentum,” Hackett said. “And this was the moment.”

With that, the attacker wound up and fired a low liner to the right of Lions goalie Addie Erdman, giving No. 6 Hereford a 2-1 shootout win over No. 14 Dulaney after a 1-1 tie through two 10-minute overtime periods. The shot ended a memorable game for both teams, just two weeks after the Lions beat the Bulls in another shootout.

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“Since that regular-season loss to them on their field, we started doing [1-v-1s] more consistently every day,” Hereford coach Caitlin Duvall said. “Just really developing a little more skill and seeing what players’ strengths are.”

Hereford had led for most of the way Wednesday after getting a goal from freshman Caitlin Meeker off a feed from senior Morgan Hackett just 4:28 into the game. That lead held up until 1:37 to play in regulation, when Dulaney senior Meghan Hoskins popped a sort shot over the head of goalie Bailey Berquist.

Though each team had good scoring chances in overtime, the game remained scoreless, forcing a shootout that matched five players on each side with the opposing goalie in 1-v-1 situations. Duvall switched goalies, inserting sophomore Eliza Greenfield, a member of the JV squad who had been practicing with the varsity of late.

“Eliza just really attacks the ball, and I figured, ‘Hey, let’s give it a whirl this game,’” Duvall said. “She was doing really well in 1-v-1s [in practice], and we just decided we were going to put her in.”

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The move paid off, with Greenfield charging out of the goal to kick away a pair of Dulaney’s attempts and stopping four of its five shooters overall.

“My heart was going 100 mph,” Greenfield said. “I want to be seen by everyone, and tonight was just my opportunity.”

Meanwhile, Bulls sophomore Kennedy Ziegler gave Hereford the lead in the shootout by faking right and shooting left. Dulaney’s Olivia Anderson tied it with a goal of her own.

Three shooters later, Hackett took the field, faking left and driving right before tripping over the goalie’s outstretched stick, earning the penalty stroke that ended the game.

Despite the final outcome, the game was a win for Dulaney, which had spent three days practicing on the school’s tennis courts to simulate the faster play of Hereford’s turf compared with its own grass field.

“I definitely have to credit my defense,” Lions coach Meredith Lott said. “I need to acknowledge their hard work, their marking up, because ... they really kept us in the game. It really got us going in terms of the momentum shifting into our direction.”

It marked the third meeting between the schools this season, with each previously winning on their own home field.

Dulaney (9-4) had won nine straight after opening the season with consecutive losses to Garrison Forest, Hereford and Westminster. Since then, the Lions, who have made three straight trips to the Class 4A state finals, have outscored opponents during regulation and overtime by a combined 32-3.

Dulaney will be the top seed in Class 4A North Region I, getting a first-round bye before playing No. 4 seed Perry Hall on Monday. The Lions defeated the Gators, 9-0, when the teams met last month.

Meanwhile, Hereford (10-2) has more than a week to prepare for the Class 2A playoffs. The Bulls will be the top seed in the North Region I, receiving a pair of byes before meeting either No. 2 seed Eastern Tech or No. 3 seed Lansdowne in the region championship game Nov. 3.

The Bulls haven’t faced either of those teams this season.

Duvall said facing off against Dulaney was perfect preparation for the postseason.

“I feel very fortunate to have a bonus game, a really competitive game going into playoffs,” Duvall said. “We’re very lucky. This is just keeping our momentum going.”

Hereford 1, Dulaney 1 (Hereford 2-1 in shootout)

Goals: D: Hoskins (Anderson);H-Meeker (Ziegler, Hackett).

Assists: D-Anderson; H-M. Hackett.

Saves: D-Erdman 11; H-Berquist 4, Greenfield 2.

Half: Hereford, 1-0.

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