What are the best high school teams in Frederick this fall?
Thanks to the coronavirus, we’ll likely have to wait until next spring to find out. The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association postponed fall and winter sports until after the first semester, which ends in January, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
So to help fill the void, The Frederick News-Post thought it would be fun to ask readers to pick the best Frederick County high school teams of all-time in each sport.
Each week, we’ll feature a sport and list contenders from years past in that sport. Readers can visit www.fredericknewspost.com to vote for the team they think is best. We’ll do this for all sports, fall, winter and spring.
Each Thursday, when we list candidates for another sport, we’ll reveal the team from the previous week’s sport that got the most votes.
This week’s sport: Field Hockey. May the best team win.
1979 Catoctin Cougars
Record: 14-2, Class C state champion
This was the first Frederick County field hockey team to win an MPSSAA state title.
The Cougars accomplished that feat by knocking off defending champ Mardela (Wicomico County) 1-0 in the state championship game in Rockville. Angie Clark scored the only goal with 7 minutes left in regulation.
The Cougars controlled the ball the majority of the game, featuring a bevy of aggressive forwards that kept Mardela’s defense under constant pressure.
While Catoctin coach Jack Patterson had trouble singling out players for praise after winning the title, he did mention the leadership of co-captains Tina Boyd (forward line) and Anne Despeaux (defense). He also noted the toughness of Debbie Baust, who played the latter portion of the season with a cast on her nose — which was broken during a game — and competed in the state final despite receiving 20-plus stitches in her thumb the previous day.
“I’ve coached a lot of boys teams, but I’ve never had as willing or as hard-working a team as these girls,” Patterson told the News-Post back then. “They’re hard as nails.”
To reach the final, Catoctin beat Middletown in the region final and Francis Scott Key (on penalty strokes) in the state semis, where Cougars goalie Pam Shriver’s ability to block shots loomed large.
1980 Linganore Lancers
Record: 14-2, Class C state champion
Sandwiched between Catoctin’s 1979 crown and Middletown’s 1981 state title, Linganore’s run to the state title in 1980 helped show Frederick County’s ability to churn out stellar field hockey programs.
In fact, the Lancers’ first postseason game came against a Middletown team that had beaten them earlier in the season. Linganore avenged that setback with a 4-0 win.
After beating Liberty on penalty strokes and rolling to a 4-0 win over Perryville, Linganore pulled out a 1-0 over Washington in the state final.
Despite dominating in the title game, outshooting Washington 19-0, the Lancers couldn’t get the ball past goalie Helen Adams and found themselves locked in a scoreless tie at the end of regulation. And as minutes ticked off in overtime, the Lancers faced the unappealing prospect of having the outcome decided by penalty strokes. The Jaguars had won their previous three games on penalty strokes.
“We did not want to get into that situation,” Linganore coach Tina Walls said.
Thanks to sophomore Kelly Kern, they avoided that fate. Crossing into the left side of the circle, Kern hit the ball high into the left corner of the cage at the 2:45 mark of overtime. It was the 10th goal of the year for Kern, who got promoted from the JV team about three weeks into the season.
Pam Esworthy was another top scorer for Linganore. Other key contributors included fullback Stephanie Groomes, goalie Ce Ce DeCamp and back link Debbie Dabbondanza.
1987 Middletown Knights
Record: 11-5, Class B state champion
Middletown capped an unprecedented run of success in 1987, winning a then-state-record fourth straight state title.
All four of those crowns came under head coach Debbie Phebus, whose teams won one Class C title and three Class B crowns during the dominant stretch.
Aside from making history, Middletown’s 1987 team also showed a remarkable resilience, starting with its ability to remain a contender despite losing 10 starters from its 1986 team and getting off to a 3-3 start.
A shot at a fourth consecutive state crown still seemed in jeopardy when the Knights trailed Pikesville by a goal with 9:54 left in the Region I finals at Hood College. No problem. Erin Doughty scored to tie the game, and less than three minutes later, Tracy Wolfe scored on a Jenny Anderson assist to help the Knights pull out a 3-2 win.
But another major challenge loomed in the state semis, where Middletown had to face a top-seeded Glenelg team that it lost to earlier in the season. Just 1 minute, 54 seconds into that game, though, Stacy Droneburg scored off Kristen Saal’s assist for the Knights. Middletown’s defense, led by goalie Vanessa Puleo and sweeper Tracie Black, did the rest as the Knights won 1-0.
Middletown then topped Calvert 1-0 in the title game, getting the game’s lone goal from Tricia Ferguson.
Wolfe, the only one to play on all four Middletown state champion teams from 1984 to 1987, earned Frederick News-Post Offensive Player of the Year honors as a senior. Ferguson, Black, Puleo and Anderson (defense) were also all-county first-teamers.
By the way, this is the last Frederick County field hockey team to win a state title outright.
1991 Middletown Knights
Record: 12-1-2, Class 2A state co-champion
Middletown won its sixth state title, which to this day is four more than any other Frederick County team has.
Sure, the Knights had to share the crown after tying Chopticon 0-0 in the title game (the MPSSAA stopped using penalty strokes in the final during this era). But they capped off another stellar season that saw them lose just one game.
Also, Middletown dominated against Chopticon, piling up 36 shots on goal while spending a good portion of the game on the offensive side of the field.
This was Middletown’s fifth state crown with Phebus at the helm, but it was a first for every player on the roster. By the playoffs, the Knights were relying on all sorts of contributors. For instance, their 4-0 win over Towson in the state semis, defender Jill Forsythe scored her first two goals of the season.
Middletown forward Jen Zeigler was named Frederick News-Post Player of the Year. Other Knights named to the all-area first-team were goalie Dawn Hiltner, link Tracey Kelley (who later played basketball at East Carolina University), forward Christy Whittington and back Jennifer Turvin.
1993 Linganore Lancers
Record: 10-3-2, Class 3A state co-champion
Like Middletown two years earlier, the Lancers had to share their state title after playing James M. Bennett to a scoreless tie in the title game during an era when penalty strokes weren’t used to break ties in the finals.
Nonetheless, this Linganore team holds the distinction as being the most recent Frederick County field hockey team to win a state title. In fact, it would be another 21 years before another county team — also Linganore — even reached the state final.
And while wishing they could’ve won while playing in the rain against the Clippers, especially after outshooting their opponent 15-6, the Lancers did earn the program’s second MPSSAA banner.
“It’s still a state championship,” Linganore coach Bonnie Fenwick said. “We’ll take it.”
They were in position for it after knocking off second-seeded Bel Air 1-0 in the semis. Called an underdog in that game, the Lancers prevailed after Amethyst Tymoch scored on an off-balance shot 30 seconds into the second half. And in the final, Linganore goalie Sarah Griffin had six saves, including some in overtime.
Linganore’s Melissa Superka and Niki Novocin were The Frederick News-Post Offensive Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, respectively. Other Lancers on the first team were link Keri Fuller and forward Trisha Galayda.
2014 Linganore Lancers
Record: 15-4, Class 3A finalist
This was the first Frederick County field hockey team in 21 years to reach the state championship match.
“Twenty-one years is a very long time,” Linganore senior Bailey Tregoning said back then. “I really don’t have a concept of that because I’m not even 21.”
She said those words after the Lancers suffered a 2-0 loss in the state final to Westminster, which had just won its ninth state crown.
The Lancers weren’t overwhelmed by the mighty Owls. In fact, the Frederick County team — helmed by first-year head coach Stefanie Roberts — kept the ball deep in Westminster territory during most of the first 10 minutes. But a Westminster goal in the final minute of the first half helped tilt momentum the Owls’ way.
It was the final game in Tregoning’s stellar career. She earned Frederick News-Post Offensive Player of the Year honors after leading the Lancers with 16 goals and five assists. Other Linganore first-teamers were attack Sydney Cline, attack Caely O’Donnell and midfield Natalie Rupinski.
Don’t hold those four losses against the Lancers, either. All of them came to Carroll County powers that won state crowns either that year or the previous year — Century, North Carroll and Westminster.
This was the second Linganore team in three years to reach the state tournament. And notably, the previous team to reach the Final Four did so by knocking off Westminster (on a goal in the second overtime by Tregoning) in the regional final.
2019 Urbana Hawks
Record: 18-2, Class 3A state finalist
Urbana had been a power for years, but this was the first time it reached the state final. And rather than just being happy to be there, the Hawks looked like a team set on being the first one from Frederick County in 26 years to win a state crown.
Facing dynastic Westminster in the title game at Washington College, the Hawks took a 1-0 lead when junior midfield Maggie Goodwin scored on a penalty stroke with 20 minutes, 5 seconds left. It was the 100th goal of the season for Urbana’s prolific offense, which was led by Goodwin.
But less than four minutes later, Westminster tied the match, and it stayed that way at the end of regulation. The Owls won 2-1 when Miranda Moshang scored with 7:49 left in overtime.
Urbana reached the final by beating River Hill 3-1 in the semis, prolonging a dominant season that also saw it notch a pair of 1-0 wins over Class 2A state finalist Oakdale, including one in the CMC championship game.
Goodwin, who led the county in scoring with 28 goals and 21 assists, was The Frederick News-Post Offensive Player of the Year. Riley Clipson was the Defensive Player of the Year, helping the Hawks hold opponents to seven goals in 20 games and post 15 shutouts.
Other Hawks first-teamers were attack Maddie Hillman, goalie McKenna Ladson, midfielder Zoe Nelson and defender Ashlyn White.
Goodwin, Ladson, Nelson and White were among the many underclassmen who longed to get another crack at that elusive crown.
“Hopefully this motivates them to come out even stronger,” Molly Stuart, a co-head coach with A.J. Stuart, told The Frederick News-Post that day.
2019 Oakdale Bears
Record: 14-6, Class 2A state finalist
It was a breakthrough season for the Bears, who won their first regional title and ended up reaching the state final.
“The beginning of the season, I’m sure none of the girls would say, ‘Yeah, we’re going to be in states this fall,” Bears coach Allison Dudley said after the final.
But Oakdale’s unprecedented postseason run came to an end when it lost 1-0 to Marriotts Ride in the state final.
Despite facing constant pressure from the Howard County team’s offense, the Bears entered halftime locked in a scoreless tie. But Marriotts Ridge got the only goal it needed with 21:36 left.
Oakdale players who earned Frederick News-Post all-county first-team honors were midfielder Brooke Butler, attack Kiersten Hoffmann, attack Emma McGaha (who scored the game-winner in overtime against Parkside in the state semis), defender Sam Mogar.
The Bears’ penchant for big things surfaced when they played powerful Urbana tough twice in a pair of 1-0 losses.
Like the Hawks, a slew of Oakdale’s key players were underclassmen, which bodes well for both teams if they get to play some time this school year after the pandemic-related postponement of sports ends.