Bucs Roll Into State Tourney
Kaufman sets school single-season goals mark, as team wins sixth region championship in a row
STEVENSVILLE — Celina Kaufman wasn’t given a heads-up about the milestone.
And even after the Kent Island High senior standout’s six-goal performance gave her a new school single-season record for goals at 34, Kaufman wasn’t taking credit, but passing it around.
“It feels really good,” Kaufman said. “But I really couldn’t have done it without the girls on the team. I mean a goal doesn’t come without an assist. An assist doesn’t come without a clear. So it really just means so much to me that the whole team helped me work toward this.”
Kaufman and company continued working toward another statetitle shot Wednesday afternoon, piecing together a 14-0 victory over Calvert for Kent Island’s sixth consecutive Class 2A South Region field hockey championship.
The Buccaneers (16-0) are scheduled to meet Hereford in a 7 p.m. Class 2A state semifinal next Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Paint Branch High School. Hereford won the North Region championship last night with a 1-0 victory over North Harford.
“Kent Island is a wonderful team,” Calvert head coach Crystal Hill said. “They have beautiful passing. They’re just at a whole other level. And if I wasn’t coaching (against) them, they’re really enjoyable to watch. You’ve just got to appreciate the history that they have and the skill they play with.”
What longtime Bucs head coach Jami Wilt may have appreciated most on this sunny and breezy autumn afternoon was her team’s intensity never seemed to wane, even after taking a 2-0 lead four minutes into the game and ex-
panding it to 7-0 by halftime.
“My main thing in a game like this is just play your game,” said Wilt after the Bucs posted their most lopsided victory of the season, and in their last six regionaltitle games. “Play the game that has gotten you here, and ours has been our passing game. All everyone has talked about is how well the girls communicate and pass. If you’re passing the ball it’s kind of hard for people to catch up to you.”
There was no catching Kent Island on this day, as Emery Betcher (two goals) converted a pass from Maggie Silver for a 1-0 lead just 2 minutes, 44 seconds into the game. Less than two minutes later, Silver scored via Ella Kaufman’s assist off a penalty corner.
“We talked a lot about what you can gain from every game you play in,” Wilt said. “This was a great opportunity for us to practice our passing; for us to work on our corners. The only time we ever get to practice corners is during practice, and our defense knows our corners. So you don’t really get to execute them like you want to. So there is something to be gained in every opportunity.”
The Bucs had 13 opportunities to work on their penalty corners in the first half, and had two more chances in the second half.
“The girls have several corners,” Wilt said. “They seem to have the ones they fall back on over and over again. So it was a chance to try some different ones, and I saw them do that. And that was really nice because I think it builds a little bit of confidence.”
By the time the opening 30 minutes were complete, Kent Island had built a commanding 7-0 lead, as Ella Kaufman and Celina Kaufman each scored twice, Sydney Barlow once, while Riley Tengwall picked up an assist on the first of Celina Kaufman’s six goals.
“We are playing I feel the best that we’ve ever played,” Celina Kaufman said. “I love this team because it’s all about teamwork. We focus on passing. We focus on communication. And our top thing is we love each other. That makes all the difference.”
It continued making a difference in the second half, as Celina Kaufman scored three goals over the first 12 minutes, stretching the lead to 10-0. Betcher netted her second goal with a little under 18 minutes remaining and Katie Abendschoen made it a 12-0 cushion with 12:25 left.
It wasn’t until 15:17 remained that the Cavaliers (5-8) earned their first penalty corner. And it wasn’t until 10:36 was left that Calvert got its first shot on goal — that coming on a penalty stroke by Maddie Wojo.
“I was very worried,” Kent Island senior goalie Julia Abendschoen said. “I’m always worried when I get put on the spot like that.”
Wojo fired and Julia Abendschoen moved toward the ball, and with a slight leap batted it to the ground to preserve what eventually became Kent Island’s 12th shutout of the season.
“I think it’s most important to focus on the ball because that’s what you have to save,” Julia Abendschoen said. “Just blank everything else out and look at the ball.”
Celina Kaufman eclipsed Ali McIntosh’s school single-season goal-scoring mark of 33 set in 2008 with 7:13 remaining when she slipped her final goal past Calvert goalie Grace Tisone.
“Celina is so focused. She’s always been so focused,” Wilt said. “Offensively, Celina’s a powerhouse for us.”
Barlow capped the scoring with her second strike with 4:05 remaining.
“I cheer on my team no matter what side they’re on,” Julia Abendschoen said when asked how she stayed engaged while seeing little pressure from Calvert. “If they are all the way on the other end line, I’m like, ‘Yeah, you got it. Shoot that ball in.’ Just constantly supportive.”
As she has been all season, Kent Island’s senior goalie got plenty of support from the defensive unit of Emily Fronzcek, Marissa Plumer, Delaney O’Brien and Cambell Beach.
“On the other side, I have Marissa and Emily Fronzcek who are my defense that have kept the ball on our side of the field,” Wilt said. “Delaney O’Brien has been my sweep all year and she does such a great job staying low, and she was moving the ball outside all day today, which was fantastic. And Cambell Beach has stepped up. She was as midfielder on jayvee last year and she saw a need on defense and she said I want to try that, stepped in and has done a great job.”
Kent Island High’s field hockey team poses with its championship plaque Wednesday after defeating Calvert, 14-0, for the Class 2A South Region title.
Kent Island’s Celina Kaufman, left, high-fives teammate Riley Tengwall after scoring one of her six goals.
Kent Island’s Emily Fronzcek (24) carries through the midfield against Calvert’s Maddie Wojo (8).