South River goalie Irene Jorden hurried forward and stuffed a Whitman attacker from close range with just less than 16 minutes to go in last night's Maryland 4A field hockey final in College Park.
The longer the game went, despite all of the pressure applied by the Vikings, it became clear that it would take a special shot by Whitman to tie the game. It never came as Jorden made 16 saves, and sophomore midfielder Molly Gregoire scored the only goal to win the school's second state title, 1-0.
In the 2A title game earlier, Glenelg fell to Hereford, 2-0.
"It's not about pressure, it's about focusing on the ball," Jorden said. "That's like my mantra. Don't worry about anything else, just focus on the ball and support your team."
Even with their limited chances, the Seahawks made the most of them. Gregoire was able to score on a deflection for just her third goal of the season to give the Seahawks their first state title since 2000.
"We knew we had to score because we hadn't had it in their end like the whole game," Gregoire said. "We had to put it in and just dodge the defense."
Jorden really didn't have much of a choice as the Seahawks (17-3) were forced to fight off constant pressure from the Vikings (11-6), who at one point this season didn't score during one three-game stretch of a 2-5 start.
"We just couldn't get it in the goal," Whitman midfielder Ellen O'Brien said. "We had that problem in the beginning of the season, but I thought we got over it.
"Every time we put it in the circle [Jorden] got it out for them."
In the 2A title game, Jenn Cochran and the Glenelg team knew for almost a week they had a chance to be part of something special.
Just last Wednesday against South Carroll in the state semifinals, the Gladiators celebrated one of the biggest wins ever for their program. But hopes of that first state title in school history were dashed the three-time defending Baltimore County champion.
"Beating South Carroll was one of our main goals. Once we actually did that, we had to refocus on the next game," said Cochran, a senior. "Just making it here is an honor."
Glenelg (14-3-2) had been building toward a season like this one, determined to rewrite history for the program and Howard County. Two years ago, a team composed mostly of sophomores reached the region final. Last year, it was the state semifinals, leading to this year's first title game appearance since 1979. The Gladiators also lost that game to Hereford, 2-0.
"I didn't tell the kids at all. They don't have a clue," said Glenelg Coach Ginger Kincaid, who was coaching at the school for that game as well. "This was where we wanted to be, and last year we missed it by one game. . . . Hardly any [Howard County] teams ever get here. This is my second time since '79 being here. But we get to the semis time and time again."
Centennial's 3A title in 1995 remains the county's only field hockey state title.