CHESTERTOWN, Md. — When the South River team bus broke down en route to the Maryland 4A field hockey state championship game Saturday, the mechanical issues nearly did what the rest of the tournament field couldn’t — keep the Seahawks from a third consecutive 4A state title.
A second bus soon arrived, and the Seahawks made it to Washington College in time for faceoff, albeit with a shorter warmup session. The delay did not slow them from completing the three-peat with a 2-0 victory over Dulaney. It marked South River’s fourth championship in seven years.
“It was a little nerve-racking,” Coach Megan Atkinson said. “Worst case, we were sending [players] with their parents.”
Senior midfielder Allison Corey, who scored one goal and helped create another, said her teammates were unfazed.
“We knew we didn’t really have that much time to warm up. We were keeping a positive attitude and we just got right into things.”
The Seahawks (15-3) started fast, creating five penalty corners in the first 17 minutes. The last of those produced the game’s first goal when Corey beat the Dulaney goalie with a blast into the lower left corner.
“We got a ton of opportunities, and we were saying, ‘This is it, we need to score,’ ” Corey said. “I’m glad that we capitalized on the corner.”
South River continued to apply pressure, using precise stickwork to bat down aerial passes and block ground passes, forcing turnovers that led to chances for its forwards. The Seahawks drew 10 penalty corners in the first half alone.
Early in the second half, on South River’s 11th corner, Corey’s shot was deflected in by senior attack Alexis Seidel.
“I just saw it was coming toward me, and when it came, I just tipped it in,” Seidel said.
The Seahawks kept up the pressure, but the Lions (13-6) found their footing and nearly cut the margin in half with 10 minutes remaining when Zoe Herman’s floating shot was accidentally tipped in by South River goalie Kaitlyn Wallace as she tried to punch it away. But the goal was disallowed, deemed dangerous because of the crowd of people in front of the net.
“We needed a second to relax and take in what was going on, and after that we remained more composed,” Seidel said.
The Seahawks maintained their composure, and after winning their third consecutive championship, this season’s juniors are looking toward a fourth title.
“They’re going into their fourth next year, fourth season where they’re going to be defending champs,” Atkinson said. “It really just keeps us motivated going forward.”