Elkton snaps decade-long losing streak to Perryville
— Renee Dunn’s first game as head coach of the Elkton field hockey team turned out to be a memorable one.
Junior Nicole Baldino scored on an assist from junior Vanessa Dunn just three minutes into the contest and the Golden Elks held on to edge host Perryville 1-0 in non-divisional action on Friday.
The season-opening victory marked the Elks’ first win over the Panthers since a 3-0 triumph on Oct. 16, 2006.
“We knew, obviously, that Perryville is a huge threat and they’re a really good team. They fought us tooth and nail the whole game,” Dunn said. “It’s huge, especially because it’s the first game of the season. Hopefully we can carry the momentum into
the rest of the season.”
The Panthers took the field for the first time since falling to Patterson Mill, 1-0, in overtime during last year’s 1A North Region Final.
“Since I was a freshman and since the seniors were freshmen and since we were kids and played scrimmages against them, we have never beat Perryville. So this is a huge win for us,” Baldino said. “They are a great team.”
Positioned near the post, Baldino took a feed from Dunn and beat Panthers keeper Madalyn Wilkinson, making her first start in net following the graduation of All-County goalie Lacie Flores. It marked one of the few times all game the Elkton (1-0) offense pushed deep into Perryville territory.
“We’ve really been working a lot on that play in prac- tice so it felt amazing to get it down and get it in,” Dunn said. “It gave us motivation and the hunger to keep going. Getting up early on them, it gave us fuel.”
Friday also marked Per- ryville’s first loss to a Cecil County opponent since 2014 against North East.
“It’s tough [to go down early] because we didn’t feel like it was necessarily the most earned goal. It surprised us a little bit and I think it surprised Elkton a little bit, but their defense showed up and held it for them to give them the edge in the game,” first-year Panthers coach Erin Hamson said. “It’s a little bitter taste in our mouth for that first game to be a loss.”
Perryville (0-1) responded with eight total corners in the contest, but an inability to take advantage of second chances, coupled with strong play from Elkton junior goalie Fallon Katz, prevented the host squad from finding the scoreboard.
Katz ended the contest with eight saves.
“They’re defense showed up and they were consistent and didn’t relent. Our offense didn’t relent until were in the circle, Hamson said. “We had great first shots on goal … but we had a tendency to lay off on our second shot consistently, over and over and over again.”
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Elkton junior Vanessa Dunn, left, battles a pair of Perryville defenders during the Golden Elks’ 1-0 victory over the host Panthers in non-divisional field hockey action on Friday.