But facing the same team that ended their season last fall, Saturday’s contest had plenty of meaning for the Bulldogs nevertheless.
Before Westfield’s 4-1 victory over the Wildcats in the Bulldog Invitational, Winesett gathered her teammates outside the stadium for a brief, yet resounding players-only chat.
“We wanted to make them [Mountain View] feel how we felt,” Winesett said. “Not too much had to be said to get us fired up.”
What Westfield (4-2) felt – the last time the two teams met – was a sense of bewilderment. The Bulldogs outshot Mountain View eight to five and accrued 14 corners to the Wildcats’ one, but fell 2-1 in a AAA state quarterfinal loss last November.
“In all statistics we should have won the game,” Bulldogs’ Coach Starr Karl said. “We just didn’t finish that day.”
Tabb, the AA state runner-up a year ago, won the tournament title with a 1-0 win over the Bulldogs.
But in early September, moral victories abound. Especially for Westfield, a group that seems to match the output of its opponent on a given day.
“I feel like we do worse when we play worse teams, because we kind of play down to their level,” Winesett said. “When we play the better teams, the pace of the game is so much faster, and honestly, it’s more fun to play because it’s challenging.”
The Bulldogs weren’t the only local team to reverse a negative trend with a tournament win.
“We really got to see ourselves, and see where we need to work,” Fairfax Coach Amber Beaudoin said. “And we got some good film on it, so it gave us a great launching point.”
Seeing how established, accomplished programs handle business doesn’t stop with the players on the field, either.
“Those are all great coaches too, and we got to watch how they work their teams,” Beaudoin said.
The 2-1 defeat might have concerned longtime Gladiators Coach Ginger Kincaid were it not for the lopsided shot total.
“I’d be panicked if we hadn’t outshot them so much,” Kincaid said. “But this will take a little bit of pressure off. After winning three state championships, everyone’s got our number circled and the team was starting to feel that. This will give us a bit of a breather.”
The Gladiators (0-1) had 21 shots to the Mustangs’ eight. The two teams will likely meet again in the playoffs and Kincaid doubts that anyone in Howard will get to the postseason undefeated with this year’s competition.
Tuesday’s loss comes after a 3-0 win against Baltimore’s Bryn Mawr and a 3-1 loss to No. 1 South River in the final of the South River Invitational Saturday. The same lack of follow-through hurt the Gladiators in the latter game against the rival Seahawks (3-0), a team that the defending 2A champions can never seem to beat.
“We got into that game and got a whole lot of shots early, but then panicked,” Kincaid said. “They did all the damage within five minutes and played a really tough offense, and that’s a team that if you even panic a little, they’re going to get the advantage.”
“We’ve just got to figure out that one little part,” Kincaid said. “But it’s a long season, and we’ve got a lot to do.”
Field hockey in Montgomery County opened last weekend for the first time in years without the participation of Jenna Ries as a player or coach. Ries, the former field hockey and lacrosse coach at Quince Orchard and most recently the athletic director and field hockey and lacrosse coach at Holy Cross, has stepped down this season to focus on her club teams. Replacing her is Lindsey Weller, a former Quince Orchard player with two years of experience as the varsity coach at Whitman. (Amanda Saber steps in at Whitman from an assistant position at Goucher College.)
“Jenna was my high school coach so I was trained by an awesome coach, and I’ve been an intense coach and player ever since I can remember,” Weller said of her approach with the Tartans, who have won the last five WCAC championships. “It’s just the tone that you set.”
Sophomore midfielder Kate Taylor will contribute as a feeder offensively and senior defenders Kristyn Gaines and Nicole Lantuh will control the back line. Holy Cross (2-2) led 2-1 for the majority of Thursday’s game against No. 9 St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (4-0) until the last four minutes. The Saints scored two late goals to give the Spartans their first loss of the season. Weller attributes the last-minute loss to a lack of consistency.
“It’s really important to sustain a high level of intensity throughout the whole game,” she said. “We learned this the hard way but it’s a lesson I’d rather have my kids learn earlier in the season, that they have that ‘pit in your stomach experience’ early on so they hold on to it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
South River stays held its spot atop the rankings after winning its own invitational and beating Glenelg Country School, 4-0. . . . Broadneck fell 0-1 to Severna Park despite a standout performance from goalkeeper Alyssa Thompson. . . . Mount Hebron beat Atholton 2-1. . . . Fairfax jumps four spots after upending South County, 1-0, in the Bulldog Invitational.
1. South River (3-0) LW: 1
2. Severna Park (3-0) LW: 3
3. Glenelg (1-2) LW: 2
4. Fairfax (5-2) LW: 8
5. South County (2-0) LW: 4
6. Broadneck (3-1) LW: 6
7. Atholton (0-1) LW: 5
8. Westfield (4-2) LW: 7
9. St. Stephens/St. Agnes (4-0) LW: 9
10. Walter Johnson (1-0) LW: 10
Bubble: Oakton (6-0), Marriotts Ridge (1-1)
Related: Walter Johnson shuts out Bullis