By Jeff Nelson
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, November 9, 2008
CHESTERTOWN, Md., Nov. 8 -- As the Glenelg field hockey team assembled for a team picture after the Maryland 1A final on Saturday, a few Gladiators in the back tumbled over a few in the front. Everyone laughed.
For a team that had just lost to Pocomoke, 5-1, the mood on the losing sideline at Washington College was relatively upbeat.
Glenelg senior Lauriann Parker, who scored her team's lone goal, had an explanation: "We never expected to be undefeated in the county. We never expected to be county champs and regional champs and we never expected to get here. We're just happy we did."
The Gladiators (14-3-1), who lost in last year's 1A West region final, graduated several key players from that team, leading to modest expectations this season. But win after win led them to the program's fourth state final.
Unfortunately for the Gladiators, who have never won a championship, their opponent had won the past five.
Pocomoke (16-1) immediately showed why with a goal less than three minutes into the game and another with 22 minutes 31 seconds remaining in the half.
"We came out in the first five minutes very tentative," Glenelg Coach Ginger Kincaid said, "and you can't play that way. We came out of that for spells, but for most of the game, we were a step behind. And they took advantage of it."
Parker, the school's all-time leading scorer with 141 points, notched her 50th career goal midway through the first half and Glenelg's deficit was only 2-1 at the break.
"At halftime, we really thought we could do it," Parker said.
But Pocomoke scored twice within the first 10 minutes of the second half and never had its lead threatened again.
Afterward, Glenelg senior Skylar Marcoux accepted the second-place trophy with a shout of delight and still clutched it tightly 10 minutes later.
"Basically our team last year was our seniors, and we [thought] we didn't have much this year," she said. "But we showed our coaches and ourselves that we can bring it together. And we did."