In three years as a field hockey goalie, Manchester Valley’s Charlotte Schurman had never faced a penalty stroke until Thursday night’s state semifinal when she faced four — and that was just the beginning.
Schurman’s saves against the first two penalty strokes helped force overtime with Kent Island in a Class 2A state semifinal at Paint Branch High School in Burtonsville. She then saved three shots in overtime to push the game into a shootout.
While her teammates Amanda Herrold and Allie Largent scored in the shootout, Schurman allowed only one Buccaneer to score in a 2-1 win that sends the No 13 Mavericks to the state final for the first time in program history.
The victory gives the Mavericks (14-2-1) a date with defending champion Glenelg in the title game Saturday at 4 p.m. at Stevenson University’s Mustang Stadium in Owings Mills. The No. 9 Gladiators rolled past North Harford, 6-0, in the other semifinal.
The Mavericks had been to the state semifinals seven times without advancing to the final and Schurman said that, during the shootout, she thought about how much she wanted to play in the title game as a senior.
“I was nervous,” she said. “It’s not the first time I’ve been in a shootout. It’s like the third this season, but I was pretty comfortable thanks to my coach. She has us practice them… I knew I could do it. It’s just a matter of doing it with a good team like that because they were a really good opponent.
In the shootout, attackers start from the 25-yard line and have 10 seconds to score. Neither team scored with its first two attackers. Schurman, however, faced another penalty stroke after a foul on top-seeded Kent Island’s second shooter. Emma Wackowski fired the stoke wide.
Herrold then scored on a reverse stick shot just out of reach of Kent Island goalie Allie Cimagalia. Schurman saved the next Buccaneers’ shot before Largent moved to her left to find an angle past Cimagalia for a 2-0 lead.
After another foul, Megan Carpenter, who had taken both penalty strokes in regulation, finally got one past Schurman to pull within 2-1. Cimagalia saved the next Mavericks shot.
Carpenter took the final attempt for Kent Island (13-5), but she slammed her shot off the top of the cage and then could not get the ball past Schurman within 10 seconds, leaving the Mavericks with a 2-1 edge and the win.
“She just came up huge,” Manchester Valley coach Denean Koontz said of Schurman. “It’s tough to put a goalie through two penalty strokes during regulation and then to have to go through one-v-ones in that situation and two more penalty strokes. She took four penalty strokes and five one-v-ones. She’s just athletic. She was amazing.”
Schurman finished with six saves in regulation and two 10-minute seven-v-seven overtime periods. Her second penalty stroke save came with 2:40 left in regulation to preserve a 1-1 tie (one goal for winning the shootout was added to make the final score).
Kent Island’s Willow Yost scored in the first quarter and Herrold tied the game in the second.
The Mavericks fought off six Buccaneers penalty corners in overtime as Schurman made three saves. Caroline Foran, Sophie Baer, Nikki Swan and McKayla Fore had stellar games on defense.
Manchester Valley also made it through the entire second overtime period playing a man down.
“For a team to battle back from that, playing a man down the entire second 10 minutes (of overtime) just shows you where their heart was. That’s all it was — nothing but heart,” said Koontz, who led North Carroll to state championships in 2013 and 2014.
Glenelg had a much easier time getting back to the championship.
The Gladiators (12-6) overwhelmed North Harford (12-6) from the start. They took their first shot just 45 seconds into the game, but Hawks goalie Sarah Reifsnyder got started on 19 saves.
On Glenelg’s first penalty corner four minutes later, Reifsnyder stopped another shot, but in the ensuing scuffle, Theresa Stiller popped the ball toward the left post where she then slipped it past a defender into the cage.
Less than three minutes after that, AJ Eyre drove the ball from the top of the circle and Ashley Kim deflected it past Reifsnyder for a 2-0 lead.
“We are a team that likes to take it from the beginning,” said Eyre, who had three assists, “so whoever scores that initial goal, initial couple goals starts to take the momentum and that’s really how we dominated that game. Scoring so early on too, I think, put them on their heels a little bit.”
Stiller scored all three of her goals off the left post.
“I really like to stay on the post and be there to save any balls that are going wide,” she said. It’s about making sure I have the right body positioning and not swinging at the ball, because when you swing at it, you tend to miss it, so It’s really about composure and staying calm on the post.”
For the Hawks, who won their only state championship in 1975, nothing seemed to come together. They managed only two shots and Glenelg goalie Trinity Shackelford saved both.
North Harford coach Carla Harward said no other opponent had scored so quickly on her team this fall and that might have rattled them early. They never executed their game plan.
“We had an amazing season,” Harward said. “It’s just that everyone didn’t play as a team today. That was our biggest downfall. We weren’t talking and communicating on the field. We were playing more individually and when we do that, that’s when we have the breakdowns.”
This fall, Gladiators came a long way, Eyre said, with a new coach, Christina Giampalmo, and new players in some key positions. Although they didn’t talk about it much, they knew from the start their goal was to repeat as state champions.
“This is such an amazing experience and a huge deal,” Eyre said. “We definitely had this mindset coming into the season. Winning states last year definitely showed that our hard work at practice paid off. We would say, ‘We are state champions. We have to practice and play like state champions’ and hopefully get the opportunity to return to the state championship this year and we are super, super proud and excited.”
CLASS 2A STATE FIELD HOCKEY SEMIFINALS
(at Paint Branch High School)
NO. 9 GLENELG 6, NORTH HARFORD 0
NH 0 0 0 0 — 0
GL 2 0 0 2 — 6
GOALS: GL—Theresa Stiller 3, Ashley Kim, Brinkley Eyre, Skylar Rill.
ASSISTS: GL—AJ Eyre 3, Theresa Stiller, Sarah Walker.
SAVES: NH—Sarah Reifsnyder 19; GL—Trinity Shackleford 1.
NO. 13 MANCHESTER VALLEY 2, KENT ISLAND 1
(Manchester Valley wins shootout, 2-1)
MV 0 1 0 0 0 0— 1
KI 1 0 0 0 0 0 — 1
GOALS: MV—Amanda Herrold; KI—Willow Yost
ASSISTS: KI—Brookey Betcher
SAVES: MV—Charlotte Schurman 6; KI—Allie Cimagalia 4