No. 6 Garrison Forest beats No. 12 McDonogh, 3-0, advances to IAAM 'A' field hockey final
By Rich Scherr
For The Baltimore Sun|
Nov 01, 2017 at 6:45 PM
After years of dominance in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland, the Garrison Forest field hockey team had struggled in recent seasons to recapture some of its past glory.
On Wednesday, forward Claire Jones was intent to change that.
Jones, a senior, staked the host No. 6 Grizzlies to an early lead with an unassisted goal midway through the first half and assisted on a late score that helped seal a 3-0 win over defending champion No. 12 McDonogh in the IAAM A Conference semifinals.
"This means everything to us," said Jones, who will continue her field hockey career at Cornell. "This was all we wanted."
The win sent Garrison Forest (16-4) into Sunday's 4 p.m. final at Stevenson against top-ranked Notre Dame Prep, a 2-1 overtime winner over No. 8 Archbishop Spalding in the other semifinal. The B Conference final will take place at 2 p.m. and the C Conference at noon.
It will mark the Grizzlies' first trip to the final since 2014. They will be aiming for their first championship since 2012, when they completed a string of five titles in six years.
To get there, however, they needed to outlast a McDonogh team that looked every bit their equal in the first half.
"It was definitely a pretty darn even first half," Garrison coach Traci Davis said. "I think we both kind of settled in a little bit. We made a couple of adjustments with sort of spreading the field and going to meet the ball, and trying to go for those 50-50s a bit more. I think that helped us."
After several near-misses from the Eagles (11-6-1), the Grizzlies took the lead with 14:37 left in the first half when forward Amanda Fruman set up Jones for a shot in front.
Despite standout defensive efforts from McDonogh defenders Ryan Gillin and Jillian Ansell, as well as goalie Liv Geoghan, the Eagles never pulled even, though they came close on several occasions.
"It just wasn't in the cards," Eagles coach Denise Wolf said. "I think we had quite a few opportunities down in front of the goal, but we just kept going an inch over and an inch wide. And their goalie [senior Tessa Evarts] played phenomenal. She had some great hand saves and stick saves."
Evarts finished with six saves.
After halftime, however, Garrison Forest's offense removed any doubt, taking the first seven penalty corners of the half and turning two of them into goals by Fruman and sophomore Macy Miller.
"It was just knowing that we had to keep going," Jones said. "We just were so hyped, and we knew that McDonogh was going to pull out strong again and try to come back. So we just fought as hard as we could."
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