About a month ago, Catholic High field hockey team looked like it was auditioning for a reality show on Bravo.
“There were a lot of arguments, we were yelling at each other on the field,” said Cubs junior midifielder Abigail Dearstine. “It wasn’t great.”
The Cubs settled their differences and put together a championship run. Catholic won the IAAM C Conference title Friday afternoon with a 3-1 victory over Annapolis Area Christian School at Glenelg Country School.
Dearstine finished with two goals for Catholic, and Madaline Scanlon added a score. CJ Summa scored for Annapolis Area Christian School.
The Cubs (8-5 overall) converted two late quarter penalty corners, capping a run to their first league title since 2013. Catholic, the No. 4 seed, won its final five decisions.
The Cubs did it by overcoming chemistry issues that threatened to destroy their season.
“We had a little difficulty. It wasn’t just clicking,” said Catholic sophomore midfielder Madaline Scanlon.
Scanlon said a team-bonding day, commissioned by senior captain Brittany Freeman, helped Catholic turn the corner.
“When you’re part of a team, you become a family. Once you’re part of that family, you work together as one…there’s no ‘I’m friends with her,’ it’s only us,” said Freeman, the lone senior on the Cubs roster. “If something happens, it’s a team, it’s one whole.”
Catholic rallied Friday after Annapolis Area Christian tied the match midway through the third. Catholic got a penalty corner with time winding down in the third quarter. Emma Neise sent the entry pass to Abby Dearstine, whose shot appeared to deflect off a stick and past Annapolis Area goalie Sarah Billett with 14.8 seconds remaining in the quarter.
After spending most of the fourth quarter defending its side, Catholic made a push at Annapolis Area Christan and drew a penalty corner with a little over a minute left in regulation. Madaline Scanlon, off an entry pass from Roane, scored with 44.7 seconds left.
“We attack the ball and play as a team which is something we struggle with at first,” said Dearstine, who converted a penalty corner pass from Neise in the opening quarter.
Summa scored off a penalty corner for Annapolis Area Christian with 7:24 remaining in the third quarter to pull even. The Eagles (7-7-1) tried valiantly to get even, but were unable to capture their first championship since 2010.
“The team has fought through so much this season. They’re a bunch of fighters,” said Annapolis Area coach Heather Zimmerman. “It didn’t end up how we wanted, but I’m so proud of these ladies and how much they’ve grown.”
Megan Morales was a junior when Catholic hoisted the IAAM C championship plaque in 2013.
Friday, she beamed proudly as Catholic’s coach.
“As a player, it brings back so many memories and makes me proud to be their coach and experience this on the other side of the field,” said Morales, in her fourth season at her alma-mater after a standout two-sport career (field hockey and lacrosse) at Notre Dame of Maryland.
We just worked together so well today, and leading up to the playoffs. Midseason, we had a rough patch, but I told them playoffs is where it matters and they showed up.”
IAAM C CHAMPIONSHIP
At Glenelg Country School
CATHOLIC 3, ANNAPOLIS AREA CHRISTIAN 1
Catholic 1 0 1 1 - 3
Annapolis Area 0 0 1 0 - 1
Goals: Catholic - Abby Dearstine 2, Madaline Scanlon; Annapolis Area - CJ Summa
Assists: Catholic - Emma Niese 2, Rachel Roane; Annapolis Area - Abby Fagbohunka
Saves: Catholic - Bella Golden 12; Annapolis Area - Sarah Billett 12