Glenelg's field hockey players piled on top of each other to celebrate a 3-2 victory over South Carroll in a Maryland 2A semifinal yesterday at Howard High in Ellicott City.
For the first time in 25 years, the Gladiators will play for a state title, facing either Hereford or North East of Cecil County at the University of Maryland on Monday at 6 p.m.
Glenelg (14-2-2) won its first state semifinal in eight tries; last year it lost a 2-1 semifinal to Rising Sun on a goal scored with 11 seconds left in the game.
"We wanted to win this game so badly, and when we talked in practice about winning a state title sometimes it came to tears," senior attack Terri Coover said. "That's how badly we want this."
Coover scored twice to give the Gladiators a 2-0 lead midway through the second half. But five minutes later South Carroll's Shaena Smith pulled her team to within 2-1 by scoring the first of her two goals. But just as it appeared South Carroll (15-2-1), the second-ranked team in the Baltimore area, was taking control, Jenn Cochran blasted a shot into the lower-right corner of the goal off a pass from senior attack Ashley Levering with 10 minutes 11 seconds remaining to go up 3-1.
"I saw the ball coming and I socked it as hard as I could," said Cochran, whose team tied South Carroll, 2-2, on Sept. 7. "It feels awesome to get revenge after what happened last year when we lost [to Rising Sun]. We've been working for this all season and now I think we can take a big step for our county by winning states."
Glenelg will get a chance to become just the second team from Howard County to win a state field hockey title -- Centennial won in 1995. "If the Boston Red Sox can win, so can we," said Coach Ginger Kincaid, whose team lost in its only state final appearance in 1979.
Poolesville midfielder Rachel Stream had waited all season to be on the school's varsity field hockey team.
The freshman started the season on the junior varsity team, developing her skills and building enough confidence to warrant a call-up just before the start of the playoffs. The Falcons were glad to have her yesterday as Stream scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Kent County in the Maryland 1A state semifinals at Severna Park.
"It's exciting because I couldn't wait to get to high school and at least help get to states," said Stream, who also scored in the regional final against Loch Raven. "It was worth the wait because when I got more of my confidence up I was ready to play varsity. I was ready to help out."
The win moved Poolesville (10-2) into Tuesday's state final against either Pocomoke or Elkton at 6 p.m. at the University of Maryland. The Falcons, who will play in their third straight state final, lost to Pocomoke, 1-0, last year.
The Falcons had to be patient yesterday as they tried to work the ball up the field and make passes to get into scoring position. They met steady resistance from Kent County (11-3-1) for most of the game.
The Trojans had one great scoring chance on their only corner of the game, just before halftime, but the shot sailed wide.
Poolesville, which had 10 penalty corners, scored when Stream redirected a pass from senior Jamie Morningstar into the net with 15:27 left in the first half.
"She comes through in clutch situations," said Poolesville Coach Gina Grubb, who lost 12 seniors from last year's team. "She's a very dynamic player and I tell you I'm looking forward to working with her for the next three years. She got a lot of confidence on JV and really led that team."