H-town field hockey blanked
Bengals take 3A South final by 1-0 margin
SILVER SPRING — In the moments after seeing her team fall 1-0 versus Blake High School in the Class 3A South Region field hockey championship game on Wednesday evening, Huntingtown High School head coach Shannon Persetic already had an optimistic eye on the future.
Huntingtown (11-4 overall) generated few offensive attacks and Blake’s talented senior trio of Nicole Kidwiler, Sabrina Simpson and Ava Ed- wards kept Hurricanes senior goalie Megan Coffren (11 saves) busy throughout the contest. Edwards would tally the game’s only goal with just over six minutes remaining in the first half.
But while the Bengals controlled play thanks to their senior captains, all of whom have played since they were freshmen and concurrently as members of the Howard [County] Warhawks, Huntingtown’s youthful skill players Emma Pike, Alexa Zeruto and Kenly Zeruto offered Persetic a glimpse into the future.
“We lose 10 seniors,
including Megan and Callie and Ashlyn Hilgenberg, but we’re a very young team,” Persetic said. “We had five sophomores and freshmen starting and we have a lot of talented players on junior varsity who can step right up next year. Ten years ago no one knew about Huntingtown field hockey. They called us Huntington. But our program is going to be good for several years to come because we have a wave of talented players
coming up behind this group.”
Blake, which advanced to play Monday in the 3A state semifinals versus Chesapeake of Anne Arundel County at Paint Branch High School in Montgomery County, dominated the first half thanks to its seniors and junior Jordan Pack, whose line drives easily traveled 40 yards. After two potential Blake goals were waved off by the officials for varying violations, Edwards delivered the game’s only goal when she backhanded a shot past Coffren late in the first half.
“I practice that shot a lot,” Ed-
wards said. “But it usually does end where I want it. Tonight, I just turned and backhanded it and it went by the goalie and into the box. I’m excited to be going back to state semis for a second straight year. This is my senior year and my last chance to win a title. Huntingtown beat us in the region final two years ago, so this was even more special.”
Pack’s long drives enabled Kidwiler and Simpson to maintain possessions on the Huntingtown end throughout most of the first half and again in the second half. The Bengals had
seven penalty corner chances in the second half, with Kidwiler sending the ball toward Simpson, Edwards and Pack for good chances that either sailed wide or high or were kicked aside by Coffren.
“I thought we did a good job controlling possessions in the first half,” Blake coach Patrick Howley said. “We probably had 20 good chances tonight. We didn’t finish most of them and their goalie made some tough saves. But our senior captains really have done a great job leading this entire group. They know this is their last chance
to win a state title and they’ve been working hard to get it.”
Huntingtown was primarily on the defensive throughout most of the contest, but Persetic took her final timeout with just over two minutes remaining and urged her team to finish on a strong note. The Hurricanes responded with their best attack of the night as Callie Hilgenberg delivered a stellar cross toward sister Ashlyn Hilgenberg that somehow managed to slip through the crease without being tipped into the box for the tying goal.