In a game of relentless defensive stands, No. 4 Glenelg needed a stroke of good luck to survive a challenge from No. 6 Hereford in Saturday’s Class 2A state field hockey final.
With time winding down in a scoreless game, the Gladiators made the most of a penalty corner when two of the four Hereford defenders false-started, crossing the goal line before the ball was put in play. Glenelg took full advantage, with sophomore Kamryn Henson taking a pass from sophomore AJ Eyre and scoring from the left side with 2:58 left in regulation to give the Gladiators a 1-0 win at Washington College.
“It hasn’t happened like that, I don’t think, all year,” Henson said. “So far that to happen, we were like, ‘Oh my god.’”
“When we saw that they only had two players up in the goal, we just knew, ‘We’ve really got to finish here,” Eyre said.
The goal gave Glenelg (16-1) its fifth state title and first since 2017, when it also defeated Hereford. The Gladiators ended the season with 13 straight wins after suffering their lone loss to Marriotts Ridge in overtime in September, which they avenged in a 3-0 win last month.
They outscored opponents 79-13 for the season.
In this one, however, Hereford (13-3) was every bit their equal, time and again making big defensive stands. The Bulls, however, weren’t able to put a shot past goalie Frankie DiValentin.
“I was honestly thinking [this] was an overtime game because of how evenly matched it was,” Glenelg coach Nikki Trunzo said. “For our side, I was pretty certain it would have to be a corner because they played so well defensively and we were having a hard time getting around them in the circle.”
Hereford controlled play early, sending a shot from the right side just wide to the left 1:30 into the second quarter and getting a couple of other good looks before halftime. For the most part, however, Glenelg managed to keep standout attackers Morgan Hackett, Lydia Bennett and Riley Hackett quiet.
Glenelg had its best opportunity midway through the second quarter, when junior Sklyer Rill sent a cross through the goalmouth, but goalie Bailey Berquist came out to kick it away. The Gladiators also managed to kill off a pair of penalties, and in the third quarter successfully navigated a two-player-down situation for about 25 seconds.
Glenelg also had a scoring chance with 6:02 lefty in the second quarter when sophomore Theresa Stiller sent a low shot in front that Berquist blocked away.
The game-winner came off the last of Glenelg’s six corners on the day, when the Gladiators managed to take advantage of Hereford’s aggressiveness.
“They were just trying to be super intense and made an unfortunate error,” Trunzo said. “They crossed the line too quick, and then they were sent to the 50.”
“We had to push the ball forward and kind of get It toward the goal, like a tipper,” Eyre said. “Kam is excellent at being near the goal and just tipping it in, so I knew if I could get it to her she could get a nice shot off.”
Goals: G-Henson. Assists: G-Eyre. Saves: H- Berquist 1; G-DiValentin 0. Half: Tied, 0-0.