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  • Chesapeake players celebrated a goal by Logan Beal (9), which lifted the Cougars to a 1-0 win over rival Severna Park on October 10.
    Photo by Colin Murphy
    Chesapeake players celebrated a goal by Logan Beal (9), which lifted the Cougars to a 1-0 win over rival Severna Park on October 10.

After Win Over SP, Chesapeake Girls Set Up County-Championship Rubber Match

Colin Murphy
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October 16, 2017

Chesapeake senior field hockey player Logan Beal had to miss the Cougars’ September 9 play-day matchup with Severna Park — a game Chesapeake lost by a 2-1 score — in order to take the ACT’s.

For the rematch, she made her presence felt.

Beal one-timed a pass from junior Rachel Fleig into the net to break a scoreless tie in the second half of the Cougars’ senior-night game against the Falcons on October 10 and lift Chesapeake to a 1-0 victory.

Senior goalie Alexis Wade made three saves for the Cougars and sophomore Eve Vickery made a whopping 10 in the second half as the Chesapeake defense made Beal’s goal stand up as the difference. Senior defender Riley Sullivan made a pair of clutch defensive saves in the second half, and Beal had one as well in helping the Cougars shut out the Falcons.

The victory was the third over Severna Park in program history. There was a win in 2005, and the Cougars beat the Falcons in 2015, when the current seniors were sophomores.

“We are on such a high right now,” said Beal. “It just feels so good, because we only lost to them 2-1 on our play day. So it felt really good to beat them today.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Chesapeake field hockey vs. Severna Park, 10.10.17

The teams will meet for a third and final time this season in the county championship at Glen Burnie High School at 6:30 on October 19.

The rematch won by the Cougars was physical and fast, and Chesapeake proved more physical, and faster. The Cougars were quicker to the 50-50 balls at all points, and when play became chippy and referees began intervening with cards, the Cougars remained poised.

“I think we kept our composure when the cards were being thrown and some elbows were being thrown and knocking people on the ground,” said Chesapeake coach Joan Johnson, who also praised the fitness of her team’s always short-handed, 15-girl roster. “My girls being in shape and working hard, for 15 of them against [Severna Park’s] 25, it wasn’t too shabby. This was all the girls together today. They didn’t want to leave without the win, especially my seniors on their senior night.”

With relentless work in the middle of the field by Beal, Fleig, Bridgette Tayman, Alexis Arruda, Eryn Beal, Hannah McKeon, Mason Frechtel, Leah Evans, Georgia Spangler, Madison Hoyer, Shelby Bennoit and Tatum Schatt, the Cougars were able to overcome Severna Park’s depth and manufacture a scoring chance. Fleig sent a cross to Beal, whose top-spinning one-timer bounced through a morass of legs and sticks and up into the net.

Tayman, a senior, agreed with the suggestion that the team’s speed and fitness was superior.

“We are definitely faster. We run every day in practice — a lot,” she said, adding that the offense has evolved. “We’ve improved with spreading out, opening up and passing into space to get around people, which makes it a lot easier instead of all cramming in.”

From there, the defense doggedly cleared its lines and withstood an assault by Severna Park, which racked up a 13-3 shot advantage. Twice Sullivan came to the rescue by clearing a shot off the goal line, and Logan Beal came up with another defensive save.

“We are faster getting the ball out of the circle, and we’re talking more than other teams,” said Sullivan, a senior. “We know where our other teammates are when we hit it out. Talking from the goalie and telling us who to mark and where to go, it really helps.”

The team improved to 9-2 overall, with losses only to Severna Park and Delmar of Delaware.

Still, it’s a banner year for the Cougars in what is the ongoing golden age of Chesapeake field hockey. The Cougars won all of their Howard County A Tier games (against Atholton, River Hill and Marriotts Ridge) this season and have achieved the rare trifecta of beating Severna Park, South River and Arundel — all 4A teams — in the same year. On September 22, the Cougars dug themselves out of a 2-0 hole against the Wildcats to win 3-2, with Fleig’s overtime game-winner giving her a hat trick. Sullivan and Eryn Beal had assists, while Wade had five saves and Vickery had three.

On September 27, the Cougars shut out South River, the reigning 4A state champions, 2-0 on goals by Eryn Beal and Logan Beal, an assist by Fleig and nine saves by Vickery.

The Cougars could face Severna Park in a rematch for the county championship, which will be played on October 19.

Regardless, the program is still riding the wave of momentum it has created over the past several years and which reached a peak with last year’s 3A state championship. Tayman believes the Cougars are stronger than ever.

“This is probably our best season, and it feels really good,” she said.

Sullivan said the team remains focused and confident.

“The confidence is really high,” she said. “We are going to take this high and push it out to other games and hopefully go to states again.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Chesapeake field hockey vs. Severna Park, 10.10.17


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