- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The Leonardtown field hockey team didn’t let the muddy field dampen its ‘pinked out’ game to raise awareness for breast cancer.
An early goal turned into a 3-0 shutout over visiting La Plata with Leonardtown Principal Maureen Montgomery in the press box looking on and announcing every goal.
The Raiders are still unbeaten at 10-0, 8-0 in SMAC. And head coach Mia Finkleston said she had a good feeling about the game when she saw her team warming up.
“They really came together and played well tonight,” Finkleston said. “They weren’t happy with some of the mistakes they had made and they rallied back. I’m happy with them. We knew this would be a tough game. Not that we downplayed it to the girls, but we tried not to talk about the fact that La Plata’s having a great year. I know they almost beat Patuxent, they were winning at halftime.”
Finkleston said her team did not play so well against Huntingtown, a 3-2 Raiders victory on Monday, and they really wanted to come out right away against the Warriors and they did with Rebecca Cox’s goal 33 seconds into the game.
“They were pumped up in warmups and they really wanted this game.” Finkleston said.
Cox was fed a pass from Abby Finkleston to put the Raiders up 1-0.
“That first goal was nice,” Cox said. “We knew that this was going to be a tough game, so we knew we had to bring it right when we came out, so it felt really nice to get that goal within the first minute. That’s been our goal all season.”
Cox said that what helped the Raiders was their possession and being first to the ball.
“We really need to bring that momentum into the games next week. We play Patuxent on Wednesday,” said Cox, referring to the SMAC showdown between the Raiders and Panthers to be played at Patuxent at 6 p.m..
Finkleston scored Leonardtown’s second goal of the evening with 3 minutes 58 seconds left in the first half. After La Plata senior Lilly Clark dribbled the ball nearly the entire length of the field, Leonardtown’s Autumn Mallory took on two defenders and stole the ball and got it out to teammate Jessica Tate. Tate set up the play and Finkleston made the heads-up shot in front where all the action was taking place.
“Every practice we’re definitely thinking about the next game, but we are thinking ahead as well,” Abby Finkleston said. “Every single day we’re intense because we’re going into the hardest part of our season for sure. We can always grow, too. We saw growth from our game on Monday. La Plata was a very good team. They had some strong drives and some girls that could run really quickly with the ball.”
After a 2-0 halftime lead for the Raiders, the second half became a defensive battle. La Plata missed out on a few opportunities in front of the goal, but never stopped going after the ball. One of the muddiest spots on the field was in front of La Plata senior goalkeeper Kathryn Sine (4 saves).
“We gave it everything we had to the very last second of the game and never gave up,” La Plata head coach Pomie Radcliff said. “With this type of attitude and dedication, the girls always make me so proud of them no matter what the outcome is. Coming into today's game, we knew Leonardtown was going to challenge us physically and as well as mentally. Tonight was their game and kudos to them. They were flawless.”
With 5:30 left in the game, Autumn Mallory, who had been sending shot after shot at Sine all game, scored off of an assist from captain Blake Autry.
Leonardtown goalie Jaclyn Sherman had five saves in the contest.
“We definitely have a strong defense,” Sherman said. “I know if I do mess up that they are there to back me up. I came into this game with the right mindset as well as the rest of the team so I was ready for whatever they brought.”
Sherman said she sees growth in her teammate, starting junior defender Rebecca Werrell.
“She always has my back and last game she had a very big save,” Sherman said.
Sherman also praised her coaching staff and the fact that they’re encouraging the team to approach every game with the same intensity.
“I think that’s what really kept us focused tonight.” Sherman said.
Leonardtown faces off with Lackey at 4 p.m. Monday before Wednesday’s clash with Patuxent, while La Plata hosts Chopticon in its next contest at 4 p.m. Monday.
Leonardtown 3, La Plata 0
La Plata 0 0
Leonardtown 2 1
Goals: Leonardtown (Cox, A. Finkleson, Mallory)
Saves: La Plata (Sine 4); Leonardtown (Sherman 5)