Patuxent 2, La Plata 1
There was a moment in Tuesday's game at La Plata when Tasha Klares and the rest of the Patuxent defense were worried that the Warriors were going to have a chance to share the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference field hockey title.
The Panthers, who had allowed just five goals all season heading into the game, had mostly shut down the Warriors in the second half. But one big hit and some good stickwork in the final minutes put them in position to tie the game.
"We were just so intense," Klares said. "We were like, 'We've got to get this ball out because it shouldn't be in here in the first place.' "
It wasn't there long as Klares sprinted off the line and cleanly smothered the direct shot with her stick, quickly clearing the circle. It was that play late in the second half that seemed to trigger the needed defensive intensity in the rest of her team and propel the Panthers to a 2-1 win.
"It's not that I'm not confident in those girls, because I know they can do it. It's just that they need to get the confidence," Patuxent Coach Lynn Powell said. "I think when Tasha did that, it was like, 'Yeah, we can do this. We're going to stop them, even if they get corners.' "
La Plata (9-2, 8-2 SMAC) earned its final chance to tie the game by winning a penalty corner with less than 30 seconds remaining (even if there is no time remaining, a game cannot end until the defense kills off the penalty corner). The Warriors passed the ball around inside the circle but were unable to score, much to the relief of Klares and the defense.
"We were freaking out. We knew that we were ahead by one, but if they got that [goal] then it's tied and we go into overtime," said Klares, whose team clinched at least a share of the conference title. "We all had so much passion to win this game because we weren't going to let our whole season come down to this point."
The Panthers (12-0, 9-0) got their offense from Megan Harvey, who twice gave the Panthers the lead. She scored the game's first goal with 18 minutes to play in the first half, sending in a cross from forward Mary Strain.
Harvey muscled in the game-winning goal on the back post through a crowd of defenders a little more than eight minutes into the second half.
But after every Patuxent goal, La Plata was there to rally.
Tara Rupard scored for the Warriors with 4 minutes 36 seconds left in the first half to tie the game at 1 after a loose-ball scramble in front of the goal.
"I'm not disappointed at all," La Plata Coach Pomie Radcliff said. "We just had a couple of opportunities, but we didn't put it in. I have nothing to complain about."