Calvert High School field hockey player Hilary Linsenbigler missed a penalty stroke that would have tied the game in last year's Maryland 3A South regional playoffs. Friday afternoon, she made amends.
Linsenbigler, a junior midfielder, clinched victory for Calvert in penalty strokes, shooting high and to the left side of the net. It gave the Cavaliers a 2-0 penalty-stroke victory over La Plata after a scoreless game, and it allowed Calvert (13-0-2) to advance to the Class 3A state semifinals.
Calvert will play the 3A North champion--Long Reach or North Carroll--at 12:30 p.m. Monday at Goucher College. La Plata, which advanced to the finals with a 1-0 win over defending regional champion Northern, finished 5-9-1.
Ashley Umphrey scored Calvert's first penalty stroke, and sophomore goalkeeper Rachel Clagett made eight saves in the game, including all four penalty strokes that she faced. Linsenbigler had the dramatic moment to herself, however.
"The only thing I was thinking was where I wanted to put the ball," said Linsenbigler of her penalty stroke. "I noticed that [La Plata goalkeeper Amie Pfaum] was short, and she kept going to her left. So I knew if I shot it high and to [her] right, I didn't think she would stop it."
Calvert, which finished second to Leonardtown in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference's regular season, took control early. Led by all-conference forwards Caitlin Galligan and Shannon Baker, Calvert kept the ball on La Plata's side of the field and took four shots in the first minutes.
The Cavaliers had a chance to score with less than five minutes remaining in the first half. After a timeout, Calvert set up for its third corner of the half. Baker passed to Galligan, whose shot was deflected by a La Plata defender in front of the cage. The ball bounced to Calvert forward Meagan Greene, but her shot was kicked aside by Pfaum.
La Plata became the aggressor in the second half, getting six corners in the first five minutes. But the Calvert defense, led by Megan Giles, Natalie Coradetti and Mollie Gray, thwarted every attempt.
"We had plenty of opportunities, we just didn't capitalize," La Plata Coach Teresa Getgen said. "We got the ball downfield and took some nice shots in the circle, but we couldn't get the ball in the net. It was very frustrating."
Calvert had a chance to win in regulation, when Galligan's shot rolled in front of the cage, but La Plata midfielder Lisa Medoro cleared the ball before Calvert could tap it in. Both teams missed scoring chances in the first and second overtimes, forcing penalty strokes.
Calvert didn't score on its first two shots but took a 1-0 lead when Umphrey beat Pfaum to the left. Each team then failed to convert on its next shot, setting up Linsenbigler's clincher.
"It's been a long season, and we've pulled out a lot of close wins," Calvert Coach Nicole Wilson said. "Today, by far, was not one of our best games. But we were able to pull it out, and we're all very excited. . . . We've been close every year, but we always fell short. This time, we came through."