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No. 1 Garrison Forest wins field hockey title game rematch with No. 4 Notre Dame Prep in overtime

Notre Dame Prep's Jenna Klaers, left, and Garrison Forest's Ryleigh McComas try to direct the ball in second-period action. Top-ranked Garrison Forest beat No. 4 Notre Dame Prep in overtime, 2-1, at Garrison Forest.
Notre Dame Prep's Jenna Klaers, left, and Garrison Forest's Ryleigh McComas try to direct the ball in second-period action. Top-ranked Garrison Forest beat No. 4 Notre Dame Prep in overtime, 2-1, at Garrison Forest. (Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)

Forward Riley Patro, like the rest of her fellow seniors on the Garrison Forest field hockey team, had no frame of reference when it came to beating Notre Dame Prep. Since her freshman year, Patro’s Grizzlies had played the Blazers eight times — and hadn’t won a single game.

That included heartbreaking losses in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference finals each of the past two years, and an exit in the semifinals the year before.

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So moments after the Fairfield University-signee scored the winning goal 1:50 into sudden-death overtime Wednesday in a 2-1 win over visiting NDP, it was understandable that emotions took over.

“I’m still shaking,” Patro said. “All the seniors were really, really hungry and wanted to beat them. Even our seniors from last year texted us. They wanted it just as bad as we did.”

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The goal put an end to a back-and-forth contest as top-ranked Garrison Forest (9-1 overall, 3-0 A Conference) — the No. 12-ranked team in the nation according to MAX Field Hockey — controlled play early. The Grizzlies pulled ahead on Dani Mendez’s goal 11:30 into the first half before failing to cash in on several other prime opportunities to extend their lead.

That left the door open for No. 4 Notre Dame Prep (4-3-1, 2-2), which was playing with confidence following a 2-1 win over Sacred Heart Academy (Kentucky), the No. 18 team in the country, at a tournament in Pennsylvania over the weekend.

“We just are getting better and better every game,” NDP coach Katrina Ross said. “Really, it’s just a matter of having a young team full of phenomenal athletes and getting them to hone in on their field hockey skills. We just keep working on those skills and really coaching them hard so they believe that they can hang with the best in the state. It’s fun to watch, because their confidence is getting better and better.”

Trailing 1-0, the Blazers tied it when senior Meredith Medvetz fed junior Ella Colimore, who twice bounced the ball off her stick before flinging it over the head of standout freshman goalie Alyssa Klebosko, forcing overtime.

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But after losing their first game of the season in overtime Sunday — falling to national No. 13 Greenwich (Connecticut) Academy — the Grizzlies weren’t about to do it again.

“We just didn’t want to lose again,” Garrison coach Malcolm Belin said. “Honestly, we were tired of losing in overtime.”

Just a minute into the extra period, freshman Ella Kokinis took possession on the left side, beat a defender and raced toward the end line. When Patro’s defender took a step toward Kokinis, the forward fed her the ball, and Patro shot toward the inside post, ending the game.

“My defender stepped to Ella, then she slipped the ball to me,” Patro said. “For me, it really hits home. When I was a freshman, we lost to them in semis. It feels amazing.”

“Losing three years … you remember it,” Belin said. “NDP-Garrison is kind of Ravens-Steelers. It doesn’t matter how our seasons have gone, whatever has happened, whoever is playing … it’s going to be tough. It’s just nice to come out with the win. We’ll see them probably a couple more times.”

Goals: NDP - E. Colimore; GF - Mendez, Patro. Assists: NDP - Medvetz; GF-McComas, Kokinis. Saves: NDP - Borzymowski 3; GF - Klebosko 7. Half: Garrison Forest, 1-0.

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