Garrison Forest and Archbishop Spalding took vastly different routes through Thursday’s semifinals to set up a third straight championship meeting between the top two field hockey programs in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference.

Top-seeded Garrison Forest rolled past Notre Dame Prep, 9-1, while the defending champion and second-seeded Cavaliers escaped McDonogh’s upset bid with a 2-1 shootout victory.

The Grizzlies, the 2019 champs, and the Cavaliers (17-3) will face off Sunday at 3 p.m. at Stevenson University. Garrison Forest (15-1-1) won the regular season meeting, 2-1 in overtime, on Oct. 31, but the Grizzlies also won the regular-season game last year before Spalding flipped it in the title game.

Neither Spalding nor Garrison Forest has lost to another A Conference team during the past two seasons. For the Grizzlies, winning the regular-season game isn’t quite enough after losing last year’s final, 3-0.

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Garrison Forest forwards Izzy Vickery (left) and Ella Kokinis combined for eight goals and four assists as the No. 2-ranked and top-seed Grizzlies cruised past No. 12 Notre Dame Prep, 9-1, in an IAAM A Conference field hockey semifinal Thursday. The Grizzlies will meet defending champion and No. 3 Archbishop Spalding for the title Sunday at Stevenson University.

“We’re so excited to play them,” said Grizzlies senior Ella Kokinis, who scored five goals in the win over NDP. “Since last year, Spalding has been the team that we have our eyes on and it means everything to us. It’s obviously [about] revenge.”

At Spalding, the No. 3-ranked Cavaliers had their hands full with No. 15 McDonogh (7-8-1) as both teams scored in the first quarter and then played 54 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime without a goal.

About four minutes into the game, Piper Borz scored for the Eagles, but Ally Keith tied the game on an assist from Lily Mullen with about nine minutes left in the quarter.

In the shootout, the Eagles also scored first. Jadan Dahan slipped the first shot of the shootout past Spalding goalie Ruby de Frees. Eagles goalie Reagan O’Donovan then stopped Spalding’s first shot. After that, de Frees stopped everything.

The teams rotate shooters and while de Frees saved the next three shots, her teammates Stella Bumgarner, Skylar Gilman and Keith scored to seal the Cavaliers’ victory.

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“Ruby just stuffed those next three,” Spalding coach Leslee Brady said, “and the key was she didn’t get down on herself. She stayed on her feet, good footwork, did an excellent job… She just played really well the whole game, but the shootout was just phenomenal.”

McDonogh coach Courtney Rainey’s young team had improved all season and she was thrilled with their play. O’Donovan finished with 18 saves. With strong performances from her and defenders Natalie Little and Lilly Block, the Eagles held off the Cavaliers despite 18 penalty corners, including several in 7-v-7 overtime.

“It was an awesome way to end the season even though it’s not how we wanted to see it end,” said the second-year head coach. “They played their hearts out. They left everything on the field, so my after speech to them was that I couldn’t have more pride getting to coach that team that showed up today. They showed what McDonogh hockey can do, which was really exciting.”

At No. 2 Garrison Forest, the game was never in doubt. Kokinis scored the first three goals before No. 12 Notre Dame Prep managed a shot.

The Blazers Caroline Rudy cut the lead to 3-1 with 3:14 left in the first half, but Lauren Widdowson answered for a 4-1 lead two minutes later.

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Kokinis finished with five goals and two assists while Izzy Vickery had two goals and three assists.

“Today we worked as a team and we kept our heads up and our cutting was a lot better,” Vickery said. “We were communicating. We played a lot more controlled and a lot more together.”

Grizzlies coach Mimi Smith said the game was the best her team has played all season. The first time they played the Blazers (12-5), they won, 3-0, but the game was 1-0 into the fourth quarter.

This time, Garrison constantly pressured the Blazers defense. NDP had its only penalty corner in the first four minutes and put only four shots on goal, three of them saved by Grizzlies goalie Alyssa Klebasko.

Blazers goalie Kerigan Ross made 16 saves.

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“We’re young,” said Blazers coach Katrina Ross. “This is a great team… That is the Garrison I expected. They came out ready to play, possessed the ball. We were terrible with our marking as far as defensively, but we’re young and I am so excited for that group. We’re 12-5 and the future is bright. I have not one starting senior and what they’ve done this season is fantastic. Where we are right now, I’m totally okay with that.”

This year’s quarterfinalists have combined to win every A Conference title since 2007. Sinday, Garrison Forest will go after its seventh championship, all since 2007. The Cavaliers are looking for their fourth, all since 2013.



NDP 0 1 0 0 — 1

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GF 2 2 2 3 — 9

GOALS: NDP—Caroline Rudy; GF—Ella Kokinis 5, Izzy Vickery 2, Lauren Widdowson, Bell Mazza.

ASSISTS: NDP—Charlotte Stromberg; GF—Izzy Vickery 3; Gracie Kothari 2, Ella Kokinis 2

SAVES: NDP—Kerigan Ross 16, Megan Zalewski 1; GF—Alyssa Klebasko 3.


(Spalding wins shootout, 3-1)

MCD 1 0 0 0 0 0 — 1

AS 1 0 0 0 0 0 — 1

GOALS: MCD-Piper Borz; AS—Ally Keith.

ASSISTS: AS—Lily Mullen.

SAVES: MCD—Reagan O’Donovan 17; AS—Ruby de Frees 9.