Hereford controls Bucs on way to final
Bulls break tie early in the second, tack on two more goals
Hereford 4 Kent Island 1
BURTONSVILLE — Hereford High’s Anna Brandt took possession of the ball and began a 75-yard broken-field run that would have earned the admiration from many a running back toting a football.
Handling the ball as if it were dancing on the end of her stick, Brandt charged straight down the middle of the field, dodged defenders, made a hard right somewhere around the 20-yard line, then unloaded a tightangled rocket that banged into the back of the cage for the tiebreaking goal 3 minutes, 39 seconds into the second half.
“She took it all the way down the field,” Kent Island head field hockey coach Jami Wilt said of Brandt’s mad dash. “My goalie was so upset. That’s the reason why I called the timeout. I could see she was upset. And I told her, I said, ‘You can’t be upset. She went past everybody on the field, and I think a few girls that were standing on the sideline at the time. It was not you. There was no stopping her.’”
There was no stopping the pressure Hereford heaped on the Buccaneers on both ends of the field Wednesday night at Paint Branch High, as the Bulls added two more second-half goals en route to a 4-1 victor y in a Class 2A state semifinal.
Hereford (13-6) will play Liberty (16-2) for the 2A state championship Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at Washington College.
“We were holding them off,” said Wilt, who watched the Bulls dominate time of possession midway through the first half before Riley Tengwall zipped a shot past Hereford goalie Sydney Lippe for a 1-0 Kent Island lead with 15:28 left before halftime. “And we scored a great goal. It was a beautiful goal.
“But the truth of the matter is they were controlling the whole game,” Wilt continued of Hereford. “And when you see that happen you know it’s just a matter of time until things fall apart.”
The Buccaneers (16-3) managed to hold off the Bulls for a little while longer before Brandt sent a cross from right wing that Emily Ready tucked past Kent Island goalie Julia
Abendschoen with 10:53 left in the half. Hereford continued to pressure — Brandt buzzing two hard shots wide of the cage — but couldn’t gain the advantage on the scoreboard as the teams went into the break tied 1-1.
“Constant, constant, constantly being shot at,” Wilt said of her defense. “And
the shots were hard. My defense, they were incredible in the first half.”
But that defense could not diffuse the Bulls’ unrelenting pressure in the second half.
Brandt went on her impressive 75-yard scoring rush to give Hereford a 2-1 lead with 26:21 remaining. Wilt called time with just under 25 minutes remaining to settle her team, but didn’t have an answer for the Bulls’ intensity at both ends.
“The couple of times that we got our passing going we moved the ball down the field but we just couldn’t get it past them,” said Wilt, whose team finished with five shots to Hereford’s 14.
Hereford virtually sealed a finals berth with a onetwo scoring punch midway through the second half.
With 16:58 left, Mackenzie McKillop drove a hard blast from the right side of the cage that slammed into the back of the cage for a 3-1
lead. Just 1:12 later, Abendschoen (six saves) made a nice initial stop on another hard drive, but the Bucs couldn’t clear the rebound before Katie Martino flicked it into the back of the goal for a 4-1 cushion.
“They came out first half, we were kind of maintaining our pace,” Hereford head coach Caitlin Duvall said. “But then the second half they came out fired up, ready to go. A lot of these kids have been to states. We
lost at states last year and they want to get back and kind of redeem themselves.”
If the Bulls play like this Saturday they may have a chance at their fourth state title in five years.
“They are a great team,” Wilt said. “They’re always a great team. They produce great players. They have a great coach. Maybe one day we’ll get them.
“I really don’t know what to say other than I hope they win,” Wilt added. “I think
they deserve to win. I don’t know what the other team looks like because I didn’t watch them. But I’ll tell you what, I know they are going to be a tough team to stop.”
Notes: Hereford held a 6-1 advantage on penalty corners. … Lippe made one save . ... Liberty advanced with a 2-1 victory over Glenelg in Wednesday’s other semifinal.
Kent Island’s Ella Kaufman (7) carries out of the defensive end during the second half of Wednesday night’s Class 2A state semifinal against Hereford.