Sep. 21—With a 1-0 lead heading into the third quarter, Linganore's field hockey team looked poised to score again.
During the first five minutes of that period, the Lancers got six penalty corners.
But despite that stretch and others that saw the Lancers mount multiple scoring threats, Linganore never did come up with an insurance goal, beating host Oakdale 1-0 on Monday.
"We were down there quite a bit. We had 17 corners today," said Charlotte Landahl, a longtime field hockey coach who is in her first year at the helm for the Lancers. "We just need to score. But we also know that this team — I know those goalies very well, and they're some of the best in the county."
True enough. Bears goalies Lilly Murphy and Hannah Ware, who had six and seven saves, respectively, thwarted plenty of promising Linganore scoring chances. And Oakdale defender Grayson Raiford used her stick to stop a shot that appeared to be on the verge of rolling into the cage.
But with 6:15 left in the second quarter, Linganore found a way to get past such obstacles.
Emma Watkins, showing the stickwork that she's spent years honing, carried the ball toward the right side.
"I just crossed it in and hoped for the best," she said. "Because I know someone's always going to be there to get it in."
That someone was Grace Doy, who slammed the ball into the cage from the right side.
"It went by in a flash," Doy said. "I flicked it in, the goalie couldn't get there in time."
Linganore left wing Carmen Wilhelm was also in position to get a stick in Watkins' cross.
"It was already in," said Wilhelm, who has scored four goals this season, including the game-winner in overtime against Winters Mill. "So I was like, 'I'm not going to take her goal,' because that's kind of messed up."
"As long as we get the goal," Doy said, "I don't think we care who [scores]."
While Linganore will focus on converting inside the circle, its ability to generate so many opportunities is a testament to its passing and communication. Both traits have helped the Lancers get off to a 3-0 start.
"This team is near and dear to my heart. I've taught them since they were very young," Landahl said. "This is real strong team of girls, and they've been working very hard on communication and passing with each other, and it's working."
Having senior veterans like Watkins, Doy, Wilhelm, Shaelyn MacKay and Taylor Gepes Carroll (who recorded the shutout on Tuesday), among others, helps.
"It was a little rough with our practicing in the beginning," Wilhelm said. "But I feel like once we started playing our games, we definitely started coming together more and work together a lot better."
Getting to play an abbreviated season in the spring, when fall sports like field hockey were held belatedly because of the coronavirus pandemic, has also helped a veteran-laden team like Linganore.
"I feel like we just played and came back," Watkins said. "But it was a good starter to get everyone playing together in preparation for this season."
After reaching the 2019 Class 2A state championship game, Oakdale has just three seniors on its junior-laden roster. Many of the Bears have yet to play a full varsity season.
Oakdale also has a different coach from 2019, although he's not new to the program. Muzammal Malik returns as the head coach. He guided the Bears to the regional championship game during the final year of his first stint in 2017.
"We're getting better every day," he said. "They played a good game."