2016 IAAM B CONFERENCE
FIELD HOCKEY CHAMPIONS
JOHN CARROLL SCHOOL PATRIOTS
In a tightly-contested doubleheader for the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B and C Conference championships on Sunday, at Archbishop Spalding’s Love Field in Severn, clutch-minded rookies stepped into the limelight to lift both John Carroll School and Park School to titles.
John Carroll ninth-grader, Ellie Bruggeman, scored an unassisted goal in the 11th minute and then the second-seeded and 17th-ranked Patriots (13-3 overall) held off top-seeded Maryvale Prep, 1-0, for their third consecutive and fourth overall title.
“Literally, the difference was us, early on, sneaking that ball in where they pushed us back on defense for about seven minutes and we got pressed into that corner,” said first-year John Carroll coach Alice Puckett, who guided Fallston High to 11 state public school championships before moving up to join the Patriots in Bel Air this season. “But we broke out, and once we went down there we got a quick goal. We just clinged to that 1-0 lead.”
It wasn’t easy holding off the Lions, whose six penalty corners in the late going — and three extra-man situations — had them on the verge of notching the equalizer on several occasions.
Fortunately for John Carroll, senior goalie Emma Gromacki was on her game — and frequently sprawled on the turf — while spoiling several of 16th-ranked Maryvale’s most promising scoring opportunities.
“Emma Gromacki has had a fantastic career,” Puckett said. “She’s hard working, passionate and gives the most amazing pregame speeches. She’s great at directing traffic back there, and when she speaks, people listen.”
Although Gromacki finished with a modest-sounding seven saves, her bold approach in the circle was significant in garnering the Patriots’ sixth shutout of the season.
“We really pride ourselves on our defense,” the Lehigh University commit said about senior Allie Taylor and junior Alyssa Krauss with Gromacki’s freshman sister, Kate, anchoring the back line. “We have a saying: ‘If we don’t let any goals in, we’ll never lose.’ I was diving a lot in the second half. I always like to get on the ground.”
As far as playing for a new — if veteran — coach this season, Gromacki gave it a thumbs-up.
“We still have our old traditions,” she said. “But we love playing for her. She has brought an intensity that we didn’t have before.”
Maryvale coach Michelle Thaniel said that an injury to top scorer Ally Funari hurt her team.
So did a lack of scoring on corners, the coach acknowledged.
“We just couldn’t push one in,” she said. “We had lots of opportunities, but our corners didn’t seem to be connecting.”
IAAM B CONFERENCE FIELD HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP
AT ARCHBISHOP SPALDING
JOHN CARROLL SCHOOL 1, MARYVALE PREP 0
JC 1 0 — 1
MV 0 0 — 0
Goals: JC-Ellie Bruggeman.
Saves: JC-Emma Gromacki 7; Sophia Shucosky 6.
FIELD HOCKEY CHAMPIONS
PARK SCHOOL BRUINS
In the opener of the doubleheader, another rookie, attacker/defender Molly Bloom, smacked in the game winner on an assist from sophomore midfielder Caitlin Price with just over three minutes remaining in the second overtime to give the the top-seeded Bruins a 3-2 triumph over St. Timothy’s, the No. 2 seed.
“She’s a phenomenal player,” said Park junior defender Montana Love about Bloom’s versatility. “She originally played forward for us at the beginning of the season. Then we had a defender who left to go on a trip, so she went back and turned out to be a fantastic defender. On that one she was playing offense, and she just put it right in.”
In a see-saw battle, Park (15-3) struck first on sophomore midfielder Sydney Lowe’s goal off an assist by sophomore forward Julia Russell in the 12th minute.
St. Tim’s senior attacker Edie Tepper answered by converting a feed from freshman Olivia Palermo midway though the opening period.
The Bruins gained a 2-1 advantage when Lowe, in one motion, turned around a pass from Anna-Rose Leder with just under seven minutes remaining before halftime.
“I saw myself open at the top of the circle, and I called for the ball,” Lowe said, nodding toward Leder as she spoke. “I just kind of swept it, hoping it would go toward the goal.”
Park coach Kara Hickok knows that Lowe can be counted on when she is needed most.
“She’s our go-to offensive player, and is deadly in the circle,” the coach said.
After several clutch saves by senior goalie Eliana Sakin helped Park maintain the slim margin, junior attacker Anna Chiamulera tied it for St. Tim’s with an assist by senior midfielder Ellie Bowen with just two remaining in regulation.
That paved the way for Bloom to help the Bruins hoist their first C Conference banner while denying St. Tim’s (14-3-1) its fourth title since 2004.
“It was an evenly matched game, and we knew it would be,” said Kara Carlin, who shares coaching duties for St. Tim’s with Muffie Bliss. “We lost to Key last year by a stroke in the final, but it was only a four-team league last year.”
St. Timothy’s junior goalie Asia Boating was a force in her own right, especially in the second overtime when she bolted from the cage to disrupt Lowe’s attempt off a corner.
“It’s just her third year playing the sport,” Bliss said. “I’m proud of how hard she has worked much she has grown this season.”
IAAM C CONFERENCE FIELD HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP
AT ARCHBISHOP SPALDING
PARK SCHOOL 3, ST. TIMOTHY’S SCHOOL2, 2 OT
STT 1 1 0 0 — 2
Park 1 1 0 1 — 3
Goals: STT-Edie Tepper, Anna Chiamulera; Park-Sydney Lowe 2, Molly Bloom.
Assists: STT-Olivia Palermo, Ellie Bowen; Park-Julia Russell, Anna-Rose Leder, Caitlin Price.
Saves: STT-Asia Boateng 6; Eliana Sakin 10.