Washington Post correspondent Jake Schaller recently spoke with Poolesville field hockey coach Regina Grubb to discuss the Falcons' championship season.

Poolesville played Rising Sun to a 1-1 tie through two overtimes in the Maryland Class 1A final and was named co-champion with the Tigers.

* As a Poolesville graduate and former field hockey player, how satisfying was it for you to take the team to its first state title?

My team, when I played, never made it to the state semifinals. So to come back and take over for my coach [Nancy Hopkinson] and take them to the state semifinals last year and then get there again, there's really no words.

* A year earlier, you lost a game on penalty strokes to Pocomoke in the state semifinals. Did that serve as motivation throughout the offseason?

It really did. They're a great team and we'd heard so much about them, but last year the girls realized we were competitive with them.

We found throughout the game that we had opportunities to score. It did give us something to look forward to this year.

* After starting the season so strong, did you ever entertain thoughts you wouldn't be able to finish it due to the sniper attacks in the area?

Oh yeah. It crossed my mind a few times. My assistant coach, Sharon Repass, and I talked about it all the time, but we didn't want to give wind to the girls that we were feeling that way. . .

We tried to keep them strong and stay positive as we practiced indoors. We just told them to go day by day and hope they catch [the snipers], and if they do, we'll be ready.

* How much did playing in Montgomery County, with so many great field hockey programs, help prepare you for the state playoffs?

I think it helps tremendously. Being the only [Class] 1A school in Montgomery County and playing all the 2A, 3A and 4A schools really helps us to prepare.

* You lose six seniors, but you have a solid core of juniors returning. Have you already thought about a second title?

The girls talk about it. I would love to do it again, but right now I'm stressing more preparation and going game by game and step by step.