Paced by the scoring of standout midfielder Mackenzie Feltz, the Century field hockey team has developed a reputation as an offensive force over the past two seasons.
On Tuesday, the Knights showed defending Class 3A state champion Westminster that their defense might be just as impressive.
Facing a squad that had averaged more than four goals per game this season, No. 8 Century held the host Owls to just four shots and didn’t allow a penalty corner until the game’s final minute in a 2-1 win.
“We’ve been talking all season … stop ball, get it out,” Knights co-coach Rosalia Cappadora said. “And they really lived true to that today.”
Century (7-1-1) has won seven straight since an early-season loss to Good Counsel, outscoring opponents 22-3.
The Sykesville team never trailed Tuesday, going on top when Feltz found teammate Ella Morris in front just 3:09 into the game. The Knights extended the lead on a second-quarter goal from sophomore Kendra Burns, also from Feltz.
“The momentum just went up from there,” said Feltz, who has six goals and seven assists on the season. “We didn’t have a lot of corners, but we had a lot of hits in from outside the 25. They hit the balls in there, right space, right time.”
Staked with a lead, Century’s defense took command.
Though Westminster (5-3) advanced the ball deep into Century’s end on several occasions, the Knights defense, led by senior Paige Duborow and juniors Lauren Hawes and Sarah Walters, time and again managed to clear it away with no harm done.
Junior Jess Kent scored the Owls’ lone goal on a solo effort midway through the third quarter, but sophomore goalie Meghan Houldson shut down Westminster’s final opportunity with a key save in the final minute.
Westminster also suffered a scary moment 1:12 into the third quarter, when standout midfielder Paige Davis was struck in the head with a ball. The game was delayed for 15 minutes while trainers attended to her, and she was forced to leave the game.
It was one more blow for the Owls, who have lost back-to-back games and must face No. 11 Liberty on the road Thursday.
For Century, the tone is significantly different. The Knights are 14-3-1 since the start of last spring’s mini-season, and will get their shot at three-time defending Carroll County champion Liberty next Tuesday.
Cappadora, a former Carroll County Player of the Year at Manchester Valley, said having such a small break between seasons has helped her team stay focused.
“I think they were already into the rhythm of field hockey, so it was an easier transition from the offseason,” Cappadora said. “They knew what we talked about four months ago, rather than a year ago.”
Goals: C-Morris, Burns; W-Kent.
Assists: C-Feltz 2.
Saves: C-Houldson 3; W-Tippett 6.
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Half: Century, 2-0.