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Wootton field hockey seizes division crown from Bethesda-Chevy Chase

By Greg Schimmel,

After the final whistle blew, the Wootton field hockey players ran and mobbed goalkeeper Athena Sardelis at the top of her circle.

Bethesda-Chevy Chase has been the standard-bearer for Montgomery County for decades, so when the No. 7 Patriots finally beat the Barons, 2-1, Monday night, they savored it.

“We wanted this win so bad,” junior forward Allie Band said. “We knew this was going to be the toughest game of our season so far. It’s incredible.”

Band scored the second of Wootton’s two goals — which came in a span of 2 minutes 21 seconds — late in the first half, and the Patriots held on to clinch the Montgomery 4A West Division title in the final league game of the regular season.

According to B-CC Coach Ralph Goodwin, the loss snaps the Barons’ streak of 15 consecutive division titles.

“They have some really dynamic players,” Goodwin said of Wootton. “Our girls late in the game had a sense that they didn’t want to be the first B-CC team in [15] years to lose a title. . . . We dug ourselves a hole, but otherwise I felt like it was a very even game.”

Wootton (9-0-1, 7-0) pressured the B-CC defense early, and its physical play around the cage helped draw a penalty stroke late in the first half when the Barons (5-5, 5-2) froze the ball in their own goal mouth.

Wootton senior attacker Carly Pascal took the stroke, and whistled a wrist shot past goalie Kiley Goodwin into the left side of the cage to give the Patriots a 1-0 lead with 6:28 to play in the first half.

“That definitely pumped us up,” Pascal said. “I think we definitely started to put ourselves out there.”

Minutes later, Pascal fired a long pass from midfield behind the defense toward Band, forcing Goodwin to come out of her cage to try to cut off the angle.

Band controlled the pass and ripped a shot by Goodwin for a 2-0 advantage.

“We all know each other’s skills and I knew Allie could take that pass,” Pascal said. “She’s great at goal scoring.”

B-CC put more pressure on Sardelis, a freshman, in the second half, and finally scored when junior Helen Webster jammed in a rebound off a corner with 8:26 left in the game. There were tense moments in the Wootton end before time ran out, but the Wootton back line of defenders Callan Yanoff, Stephanie Weissenburger and Dani Averill thwarted most of the Barons’ chances, and Sardelis made two huge kick saves in the final minutes to preserve the win.

“Our whole team worked so hard for it,” Band said. “It was a good win.”

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