Queen Anne's Field Hockey in Search of First State Title
This past Wednesday, the Queen Anne's field hockey team must have been having a serious case of deja vu when the 1A East regional final got underway.
The Lions were in the same position last year- making the 1A East regional championship against Pocomoke. In 2015, Pocomoke played Queen Anne's off the park, running away with a 7-0 victory en route to the program's 19th state title.
This year though, Queen Anne's was able to flip the script. Junior forward Sara Walford scored a couple minutes into the game, her first of three goals, and senior midfielder Conner Allen added one as well to give Queen Anne's a 4-0 win. It's the program's second regional title, with the first coming back in 2011.
"When we scored in the first two minutes it just gave us confidence and we built off that through the game. We never gave up sticking to our game plan- going to the ball, making good passes and putting the ball in the cage," the Lions' head coach Shana Corder said. "The girls are very proud of themselves for winning regionals, especially against a strong program like Pocomoke."
Although historically Queen Anne's beating Pocomoke looks like an upset, that isn't the case.
The Lions have been in scintillating form all season, currently holding a 13-1-1 mark. Queen Anne's had a brutal start to the 2016 season, playing the four teams which beat them in 2015 right in a row. The team opened with a 4-1 win against Pocomoke, before topping Crisfield and then losing to Kent Island. Queen Anne's then beat Washington to start the year 3-1.
After drawing with Parkside in the team's next game, Queen Anne's has gone on a run of winning 10 straight games by a combined score of 58-7. The streak began on Oct. 3 with a 7-0 win against Easton, and has seen the Lions register shut outs six times.
"As far as having a 10 game win streak, it's not something we focus on. We just keep looking for what's next and focusing on the game in front of us," Corder said. "Of course you always have your eye on the big games like regionals and states, but we just keep consistency and take it game by game."
In order for Queen Anne's to win two more big games, the team will need to continue to get big performances from Walford and Allen. They aren't the only ones though- senior McKenna Blick and junior Gabrielle Corder have been big in the midfield for the Lions all season, while senior Olivia Lewis and junior Paige Mitchell have done an excellent job of breaking up opponents' attacks.
It's a group filled with talented individuals, but for the team's head coach, it's how the group comes together that makes Queen Anne's a special group.
"Every single one of these players work together as a team," Corder said. "They are a working unit and trust each other, which I think is key for us."
The team's next test will come against Patterson Mill, and if the Lions win that one, they'll be facing either Liberty or Patuxent for the championship. It's a unique final four- only Liberty has ever won a state title, and that was back when the Carroll County School won consecutive championships in 1981 and 1982.
Right now though, Corder just wants her team to be focused on Patterson Mill. Her players seem to have the same mindset, which is a welcome sight.
"The girls came out to practice yesterday ready to work on things they think they could make better. They're embracing the journey they're on and not taking anything for granted," Corder said. "If we do make it to states, it would mean a lot to all of them. They work extremely hard and we're hoping it pays off."
|November 4th, 2016||By: Wick Eisenberg|