December 11, 2017
Sports
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  • The Chesapeake field hockey team hoisted the 3A state championship plaque after its 2-0 win over C. Milton Wright on November 11. It is the Cougars' second straight state title.
    Photo by Colin Murphy
    The Chesapeake field hockey team hoisted the 3A state championship plaque after its 2-0 win over C. Milton Wright on November 11. It is the Cougars' second straight state title.
  • The Chesapeake field hockey team hoisted the 3A state championship plaque after its 2-0 win over C. Milton Wright on November 11. It is the Cougars' second straight state title.
    Photo by Colin Murphy
    The Chesapeake field hockey team hoisted the 3A state championship plaque after its 2-0 win over C. Milton Wright on November 11. It is the Cougars' second straight state title.

One More Time: Chesapeake Girls Are State Champs Again

Colin Murphy
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View Bio
December 6, 2017

From the moment the Chesapeake field hockey program began its offseason workouts, to the first day of practice in August, to every point throughout its outstanding 2017 season, the mission was clear: Bring home another state championship.

After a 2-0 defeat of C. Milton Wright in the Class 3A state final at Washington College on November 11, the Cougars’ ambitions are realized, and the program’s two-year reign over Maryland is cemented in the history books.

“For that whole team to come out here and believe they could win from the first day of practice, that was what they wanted, that was what they worked toward, and they completed their goal,” said head coach Joan Johnson. “I couldn’t be more proud.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Chesapeake field hockey vs. C. Milton Wright, 3A state championship, 11.11.17

A first-half goal by Eryn Beal, a critical sliding save by goalie Eve Vickery and a late score by Alexis Arruda highlighted the winning day for the Cougars.

“It feels awesome,” said Arruda, one of the team’s five seniors along with Bridgette Tayman, Logan Beal, Riley Sullivan and Alexis Wade. “Coming in, especially my freshman year, I never thought we could do it. But with the intensity and our motivation, we never stop giving up, and that really showed.”

A year after winning the first state championship in school history, the team had its sights set on a repeat, and many of its players are now two-time champions. Eryn Beal, who scored in the Cougars’ championship win a year ago, gave the Cougars a lead shortly into the first half of the title game this year, driving down the right side of the field in characteristic aggressive attacking style and firing past the Mustangs’ keeper for a 1-0 advantage.

On a day when the Mustangs of C.M. Wright had Chesapeake’s corner plays scouted and thus were able to contain one of the Cougars’ most successful weapons, the Chesapeake girls came through with a typically strong defensive performance to help earn the victory. After Beal’s goal, Vickery came tearing off her line to stop a one-on-one opportunity just before halftime, disrupting the breakaway by sliding and hitting the ball clear of danger.

The Cougars benefitted from yet another stout defensive game in earning their ninth shutout of the season, with Sullivan, Logan Beal, and Tatum Schatt as well as midfielders Eryn Beal, Tayman, Hannah McKeon and Leah Evans standing tall.

“We always have each other’s backs, and if one person misses it, the other just steps right up,” said Sullivan. “We work well together. I’m just so proud of the team for coming together and pulling it out.”

Said Johnson, “I can’t say enough about my defense, Logan and Sully, I am going to miss them terribly. I couldn’t count up how many goals we’ve allowed or not allowed this year, but it was just a great defensive performance today. They were not going to lose today.”

As Chesapeake has done throughout the year, the team also relied on its superior fitness, showing collective speed and strength by controlling possession and staying on the attack.

Arruda’s score with just seconds remaining put the exclamation point on the year and iced the team’s second straight state title.

A season that began with the highest of expectations progressed with milestone accomplishments along the way to Chesapeake’s state crown. The Cougars defeated South River 2-0 on September 27 and topped Severna Park 1-0 at home on senior night on October 10 to record shutout wins over the last two 4A champions. Chesapeake also defeated Arundel, one of the region’s top teams, as well as Kent Island, the 2A East champion, and Marriott’s Ridge, a top Howard County opponent, before defeating J.M. Bennett and Mount Hebron in the 3A playoffs.

“It feels awesome. We have accomplished so much this year with beating South River and Arundel, and we just needed to win this last game,” said Arruda. “We knew we could do it.”

With a 15-4 record this season, the team is 41-12-1 combined in the past three seasons and now has consecutive state championships after winning the program’s first state crown last year.

The Cougars’ extremely high fitness level, the result of uniquely intense daily conditioning sessions, was a visible advantage over other teams throughout the season and a point of emphasis for a group that has pushed the program to the top of the state despite drawing from a shallow player pool and perpetually playing without a deep bench of reserves. Johnson credited assistant coach Ben Pardew with outlining the training sessions and said the fitness standards are not just a key to the team’s success, but part of the fabric of the program.

“Now they have that expectation and tradition of being in shape,” she said.

In winning another title and adding to the growing legacy of Chesapeake field hockey, Johnson said the players made the most of their opportunity.

“I have a great coaching staff and a lot of support from my school, and they’re just such great kids,” said Johnson. “They do whatever is asked of them. They work hard. How can you not want to aspire to be in the state game after you’ve been there last year? The girls will make sure the rest of the team and the JV players know where we want to be next year, and we’ll start building that all again. I’m just so proud, and I appreciate the opportunity to coach, and I love these kids.”

The 2017 state champion Chesapeake field hockey players are Eryn Beal, Eve Vickery, Alexis Arruda, Bridgette Tayman, Logan Beal, Riley Sullivan, Alexis Wade, Tatum Schatt, Hannah McKeon, Leah Evans, Shelby Bennoit, Mason Frechtel, Rachel Fleig, Georgia Spangler, Madison Hoyer, Abby Nettleton, Abby McFarland, Avery Sesney, Caitlyn Johnson, Madison Billing, Lyndsay Weisgerber and Abby Dunn. They are coached by Joan Johnson and assistant coaches Ben Pardew, Kelly Shanahan and Cierra Delost.

PHOTO GALLERY: Chesapeake field hockey vs. C. Milton Wright, 3A state championship, 11.11.17

 

 


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