Churchill Field Hockey Wins Regional Title over B-CC
Bulldogs seek their first state championship since 1983
The Churchill High School field hockey team.
The Winston Churchill High School field hockey team edged rival Bethesda-Chevy Chase, 2-1 in overtime, in Wednesday’s Class 4A South Region final. It was Churchill’s first regional title since 2005.
The Bulldogs (14-0) will face Montgomery County foe Springbrook, a 1-0 winner Wednesday over Clarksburg in the Class 4A West Region final, in the state semifinals.
Churchill, which is seeking its first state title since 1983 and third overall, defeated Springbrook, 2-0, in the teams’ regular season meeting Sept. 12. But coach Cay Miller said the Bulldogs know better than to take any team for granted.
“…It’s the first time Churchill has won the regional final since 2005 and before that, it was 1997,” Miller said. “So, it’s a really big deal and we understand what might come later but we’re trying to focus on one day at a time and not getting ahead of ourselves.”
Wednesday’s evenly matched contest was reminiscent of the teams’ regular season meeting, which Churchill won by the same score in double overtime. The Barons (9-5) struggled to find consistency this season, but they were one of just three teams to score on a Churchill defense that has allowed only four goals.
“…In the county we have seen a lot of really good teams that didn’t have the record to reflect how good they are and B-CC was one of them,” Miller said.
Barons coach Casey Fletcher said Wednesday’s loss was “heartbreaking,” but that she was proud that her team made it through to another final as the No. 3 seed in the region’s top section.
Freshman Lucia Alem gave Churchill a 1-0 lead with 12 minutes, 37 seconds left in the first half. Barons junior Emma Lopus, who netted B-CC’s game winner in its section final win over No. 1 Walter Johnson, scored the equalizer four minutes into the second half. Churchill sophomore Alexandra Sperling clinched the victory three minutes into overtime, off a pass from Alem.
Fletcher credited senior goalie Olivia Dulany with helping to keep B-CC competitive Wednesday against a versatile Churchill attack. Led by Sperling (13 goals in 2016), Faith Kean (10), Jocelyn Kelley (seven), Jenny Langerman (seven) and Regan Solomon (six), the Bulldogs tallied nine shots on goal to B-CC’s four and held an 8-2 advantage in penalty corner opportunities—but didn’t score on any of them.
“Toward the end of the regular season, we had some tough games, and in those games, some players got caught up in being undefeated and keeping that streak and were almost playing like they were afraid to lose rather than trying to win,” Miller said. “So, we made a very clear mental break. Playoffs is a new season. No one cares how many games we won, what our record is. We only care about the opponent that’s right there and right then and take one game at a time.”