Francis Scott Key Field Hockey Wins First Regional Title Since 1996
This year, there was no heartbreak in the regional final for Francis Scott Key field hockey.
The Eagles have made reaching the MPSSAA 1A regional title game a habit, qualifying for it the past three seasons. 2015 and 2016 both provided difficult endings for FSK though- in 2015, the Eagles were eliminated on penalty strokes by Manchester Valley, and in 2016 Liberty topped FSK in overtime.
After topping Pikesville and South Carroll, FSK found itself in the regional final once again. There was no suspense or drama this go-round as the Eagles pulled away from Walkersville 7-0.
It's the program's first regional title since 1996, which has caused a lot of buzz.
"FSK's community is a small but tight community," head coach Lori Knights said. "I've received many congratulatory emails from past players and alumni, as well as parents with kids in other sports at FSK."
The next step for FSK is facing Fallston in the state semifinal on Nov. 8 at 7 PM. FSK is looking to continue what it has done done against opponents from outside of Carroll County during the playoffs. The Eagles outscored Pikesville and Walkersville by a combined score of 16-0.
That trend isn't surprising- Carroll County has turned into one of the best counties for field hockey in Maryland, winning four MPSSAA state championships in the past four years. Even though the Eagles dropped five games in county play this year, the team was gaining valuable experience that's showing itself in the state playoffs.
"Carroll County is a hot bed for field hockey. Playing against Carroll County schools help prepare the team for all kinds of playing styles at a high level of skill," Knights said. "Having the strong competition only helps better yourself."
The team's lone match against an opponent from Carroll County in the playoffs was a different story. FSK eked out a 1-0 win on penalty strokes against South Carroll in the sectional final, which avenged a 4-0 defeat to the Cavaliers during the regular season.
"We did our best to take away their driving game by marking tighter and moving the ball quicker on turnovers," Knights said. "Going into penalty strokes was very nerve-wracking. We lost to Manchester Valley two years ago in strokes, so the stress level was high. The feeling of losing was fresh in our minds which made the girls even more determined to win."
To Knights, the team's strength has been its defense. The group uses the defense to change the direction of play and support the attack. Senior goalkeeper Kourtney Black, a three year starter, has been in excellent form and done a good job of marshaling the players in front of her.
Once the ball is up the field, much of the offense is run through Kourtney's younger sister, Makayla Black, who has scored 21 goals this season. Senior Madi Herring has also been a crucial piece up top, with her versatility allowing her to play midfield or attack. Knights praised Herring for her excellent ball movement.
It's a tough group that's certainly motivated. FSK has won five field hockey state championships, but the most recent happened in 1993, something this year's team is well aware of.
"For FSK's field hockey to win states this year would be a huge boost to the school and community," Knights said. "Bringing the pride back to FSK would be great!"
|November 4th, 2017||By: Wick Eisenberg|