Field Hockey: Playoff Outlook

by Eric Meany

4A South

Emily Kenul of Sherwood and Anna Galeano of Blake

Emily Kenul (left) of Sherwood and Anna Galeano (right) of Blake may meet again in the 4A South regional final.

Sherwood (14-0) will host Richard Montgomery (3-8) at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday in the regional quarterfinals. The Warriors scored the most goals in the county (75) while allowing the fewest (6), boasting a speedy high-powered offense led by junior forwards Emily Kenul and Gabrielle Yore and a stingy defense anchored by junior goalkeeper Christina Ricciuti. Sherwood did not allow a goal in its last six regular season games, outscoring opponents 39-0 over that time. Their toughest competition in the 4A South bracket should come from the Blake Bengals, who gave the Warriors a scare on September 22nd in a game Sherwood ultimately won, 3-2. Should the Warriors prevail in their region, a challenging state semifinal game would await against the survivor the tough 4A East region. Leonardtown, South River, Broadneck and defending champion Severna Park are all strong teams with legitimate hopes of taking the state title. Sherwood won championships in 1980 and 1985, but has not made it as far as the state semi-finals since then.

Blake (9-3) will host Springbrook (4-7-1) on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the regional quarterfinals. A 4-1 loss to Springbrook in the regional finals ended the Bengals season in 2011, but they are well positioned to exact revenge this year. Blake’s offense is largely powered by Maryland lacrosse recruit Caroline Wannen, who had 13 goals and 13 assists in the Bengals’ 12 games in the regular season. Fran Inman and Lillian Watkins added 10 goals each to balance out Blake’s offensive attack.

4A West

Wootton (11-0-1) will host Clarksburg (6-7-1) at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday in the regional quarterfinals. The Patriots finished the regular season on an 11-game winning streak, the only blemish on their record being a season-opening tie against Springbrook in a game cut short by lightning. Wootton has never won a state championship, and made its only trip to the finals in 1978.

Walter Johnson (11-1) beat Gaithersburg 7-0 on Wednesday and will play either Churchill or Quince Orchard in the regional semifinals. The Wildcats’ beat both teams in the regular season, each victory coming in double overtime. Their only loss was a 4-2 defeat to Wootton on September 11th. Walter Johnson won its only state field hockey championship in 1989.

Churchill (8-4) will host Quince Orchard (4-7-1) on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. in the regional quarterfinals. The Bulldogs got a strong offensive season from senior forward Jennifer Shim, while goalkeeper Melanie Maino and the Churchill defense allowed only 10 goals against in 12 regular-season games.

Bethesda-Chevy Chase (7-7) will host Northwest (5-7) at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday in the regional quarterfinals. The Barons topped the Jaguars 6-0 earlier in the season. B-CC lost the 2011 4A championship game to Severna Park, but have won 10 state titles in the past 20 years. They had a streaky regular season, at one point winning five straight games during which they outscored their opponents 23-0. Though the Barons ended up losing as many games as they won, they have a playoff-tested roster that still has the potential to make a run at the finals.

3A West

Watkins Mill (8-4) will host Thomas Johnson (2-10) at 5:15 p.m. on Thursday in the regional quarterfinals. The Wolverines made it as far as the regional semifinals last year before suffering a 9-0 loss to Urbana to end their season.

2A West

Poolesville (11-1) received a double-bye as the result of being the top seed in the lightly populated 2A West region, and will host either Wheaton or Walkerville in the regional semifinal round. Allie Greene paced a high-scoring offense as the Falcons opened the season with nine consecutive victories before suffering a 2-0 loss to Walter Johnson on October 10th. Poolesville lost last year’s 2A championship game to Glenelg, and has been the state runner-up four times since their lone title in 2002.

Damascus (8-3) will host Seneca Valley (2-10) at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday in the regional quarterfinals. The two teams previously met on September 21st, with the Hornets winning, 9-0. Highlights of the 2012 regular season for Damascus included victories over 4A schools Northwest, Clarksburg and Blake. The Hornets fell to Poolesville in last year’s regional final and have their sights set on a rematch.

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