Saturdays NCISAA field hockey state final was a Charlotte affair. After dispatching Durham Academy in Fridays semifinals, the Charlotte Country Day Buccaneers defeated the Charlotte Latin Hawks 2-1 at Providence Day to claim the state title.
Madison Penegars second-half goal with 23 minutes left in the match proved to be the game winner. Princess Sutherland scored the Buccaneers other goal, while Latins Sarah Berry had the lone goal for the Hawks.
The two teams split a pair of regular-season meetings. Latin (15-4) was the No. 1 seed heading into the state finals, but couldnt get past No. 3 seed Country Day (14-3-1) in the most important game of the series.
Latin coach Deb Salvino was asked what went wrong for the Hawks. Finishing, putting it in the goal, she said. We missed a couple of very good opportunities but you have to give credit where credit is due. They played a great, great game.
One of the reasons Latin couldnt finish was the stellar play of Country Day goalie Shannon Baker. Baker made several outstanding saves in the game, including three point-blank stops early in second half.
Every save just gave us more confidence, more speed and more motivation, Baker said.
Charlotte Latin scored first on Barrys penalty stroke 12 minutes into the match, giving the Hawks a 1-0 advantage. But just under two minutes later, Sutherland tied the match, poking the ball into the net following a goal-mouth scramble.
Country Day coach Lisa Thompson was asked how important it was that the Buccaneers tied the match so fast after getting down 1-0. Very big, she said. It shows heart, grit and the desire to never give up, which the team has shown all season.
With the teams tied at 1, Penegars shot dribbled over the goal line and gave Country Day a one-goal lead that it would not relinquish. What were Penegar's thoughts at that moment?
At first it was exhilaration, she said. I was so excited, but then I looked at the clock and I realized that they could still come back in the game. Whenever we score we always think its still 0-0, still tied. I was excited but I wanted to keep playing and keep them from scoring.
Baker and the Buccaneers defense did just that to give Country Day the 2013 state championship.
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