After a 3-2 loss to Westminster on Oct. 17, South Carroll High’s field hockey team was on the fast track to nowhere.

The answers were few. The losses were many - five consecutive to be exact - erasing a promising start.

But, then there’s the postseason. All the angst and disappointment of the regular season can be swept away.

The Cavaliers are making the most of their second chance, and a state championship is within reach. South Carroll advanced to the Class 1A state title game with a 2-1 victory over Francis Scott Key in a state semifinal contest at Glen Burnie.

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“We’ve tried new things, moved the lineup around, moved the defense around…it was finding out what clicked,” said South Carroll coach Kayla Holston. “I think we’ve found what has clicked.”

It was all cylinders going in the right direction in the opening month at 4-1 for the Cavaliers. Then came October and five straight losses, capped with a road loss at Westminster.

But Holston said rock bottom was the prior game - a 4-2 loss at Francis Scott Key.

“We were at a low, we had girls hurt and sick, not working together as a team,” said Holston. “I told them ‘you have to choose, do we want to lose in the first round of the playoffs or go as far as we can?’”

“We all just really wanted it,” said Cavalier senior midfielder Shannon McTavish. “We knew we were better than we were showing.”

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The Cavaliers (10-6 overall) came full circle Thursday, avenging last month’s defeat to their Carroll County rivals to punch their first state title game ticket since 2018. The Sykesville school will play Worchester County’s Pocomoke, Saturday afternoon at 1:30 at Stevenson University.

Junior forward Addie Fowble’s goal with 4 minutes, 58 seconds left in regulation was the game-winner for South Carroll. McTavish had the other tally for the Cavaliers.

Down 1-0 early, South Carroll upped its work rate in the second quarter on Francis Scott Key’s end. The Cavaliers got five straight penalty corner opportunities over the final five minutes of the first half.

They finally broke through on their seventh straight chance. Alayna Enoff’s entry pass went to McTavish, who fired a shot from the top of the arc, tying the score with 4:25 remaining in the third.

Nearly 12 minutes later, Fowble came up with the biggest score of the season so far for South Carroll, knocking a loose ball into the goal.

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“Honestly, it happened so fast, I almost tripped into the goal, but I ended up just bumping it,” said Fowble. “It was just luck.”

Francis Scott Key (11-4), which lost in last year’s state semifinals, got the early advantage when Jena Stambaugh knocked the ball off a penalty corner.

But the Eagles didn’t have much luck and or opportunities after that, managing just four penalty corners compared to 10 for South Carroll.

Shannon McTavish (left) and Addie Fowble helped South Carroll advanced to the Class 1A state field hockey title game Thursday. Both scored in the second half as the Cavaliers defeated Francis Scott Key in a state 1A semfinal at Glen Burnie. (Derek Toney)

Despite her team falling short in its title pursuit Thursday, Francis Scott Key first-year coach Stacey Hudson thinks her team has a lot of promise.

“I think we surpassed everybody’s expectations,” said Hudson. “I told them in the huddle they have nothing to be ashamed of. I told them all season, believe in themselves as much as I believed in you.”

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The Cavaliers, despite a rough October, never stopped believing.

Now, a championship is in sight.

“I think we all really want it, and striving for success ,” said Fowble. “I think we can work together and get it done.


at Glen Burnie

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South Carroll 0 0 1 1 - 2

Francis Scott Key 1 0 0 0 - 1

Goals: South Carroll - McTavish, Addie Fowble; Francis Scott Key - Jena Stambaugh

Saves: South Carroll - Lily Sheaffer 3; Francis Scott Key - Madison Dehoff 4