It wasn't a smile that crossed the lips of Calvert senior standout Caitlin Galligan after the Cavaliers' 2-1 victory over Thomas Stone in Tuesday's first round of the Maryland 3A South Region field hockey playoffs. It was a sigh of relief.
Despite what Calvert Coach Nicole Wilson classified as a sub-par performance, the Cavaliers (11-0-2) did enough to get past the much-improved Cougars and advance to the quarterfinal round of the playoffs, where they will meet Westlake at 3:30 p.m. today.
"It wasn't great," said Galligan, whose team tied the Cougars, 0-0, in a regular season game that eventually cost the Cavaliers a share of the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference championship. "But a win is a win. And it means we get to play again."
Although Galligan, one of the league's top scoring threats, struggled, the rest of the Calvert attack gave Thomas Stone trouble early. Katie Wells blasted a shot into the cage just minutes into the game, but she was whistled for a dangerous stroke and the goal was nullified.
Still, the Cavaliers didn't let up the pressure, and in the 14th minute it paid off. Junior midfielder Hilary Linsenbigler, who will represent the conference on Team Maryland--an all-star team that will compete at the National Field Hockey Festival in Palm Beach, Fla., in late November--fired a quick shot from less than 10 yards out to give Calvert the lead.
Junior Ashley Umphrey put the Cavaliers up by two with 10 minutes 28 seconds left in the first half, scoring on a shot from the right side.
Thomas Stone Coach Jan Milman, pleased with the play of defenders Sofia Acosta and Amanda Kidwell in the first half but looking for a spark for the offense, moved Acosta and junior Lucia Flaim from defense to offense for the second half.
"I thought we needed to mix it up and get the girls excited," Milman said.
It worked. The Cougars played the Cavaliers much tighter in the final 30 minutes, maintaining possession and setting the tempo. But Thomas Stone was able to score just one goal, on Kidwell's shot with a second left.
"You would think that the girls would step it up a little bit, knowing that if you lose you're out and knowing that [Thomas Stone] is the team that cost them the SMAC championship," said Wilson, whose team tied eventual league champion Leonardtown, 1-1, on Oct. 21. "But they really didn't. They won, but they by no means played to their capability. You look at that game against Leonardtown and look at this game today, and it's not the same team. I don't know what I have to do to get the girls to play with that same intensity."
Wilson hopes that, whatever it is, she and the Cavaliers can figure it out before they travel to face the Wolverines. Calvert beat Westlake, 3-0, in regular season action.
"We'll fix it," Galligan said. "We will. I will."
LEONARDTOWN 2, GREAT MILLS 0: Amberly Kelly and Erica Adams scored as the SMAC champions won their first-round 3A South game at home. The Raiders (13-1-2) will play at Northern in a regional quarterfinal Friday at 3:30 p.m.
Kelly opened the scoring with 14:52 left in the game, converting a corner shot from Amanda Brown. Adams scored three minutes later. For the 11th time in 12 games, the Raiders held a SMAC opponent scoreless--Calvert is the only league team to get a goal against Leonardtown this season.
CAPTION: Cougars goalie Juli Anderson and teammate Christine Williams, center, try to fend off the Cavaliers' Ashley Umphrey.