Kent Island 3 — Queen Anne’s 0

CENTREVILLE — Emily Fronczek doesn’t just remember who took the North Bayside title away from Kent Island High’s field hockey team last year. The Buccaneers’ outstanding senior defender remembers the precise date.

“It’s been exactly a year since we lost against this team,” said Fronczek, recalling last year’s 2-1 overtime loss to Queen Anne’s County on Oct. 17. “It was the same day last year. We knew. Oh, we wanted it so bad. And we wanted to come out and give our best game and our best effort and show them how it’s done.”

Kent Island pretty much did all that on this sunny, wind-swept Wednesday afternoon, as Maggie Silver scored a pair of first-half goals and watched the defense limit Queen Anne’s to just one shot on goal, as the Buccaneers secured their seventh division title in eight years with a 3-0 victory.

Kent Island (12-0 overall, 5-0 North Bayside) will play Parkside (11-1, 5-0 South Bayside) next Monday at Pocomoke High for the Bayside Conference championship at 6 p.m. The Rams earned a 2-0 victory over James M. Bennett yesterday to clinch the South title

“We wanted it really, really, really bad,” Silver said of the division title. “We’ve been working really hard for all these games, and it feels good to know that, even though we lost a bunch of great players last year, we’re holding our own.”

Holding their own may be a rather mild way of describing this year’s Buccaneers, who have been held under three goals only once this season — that coming in a 1-0 season-opening victory over St. Mary’s.

“Scoring was not our problem,” said Bucs longtime head coach Jami Wilt, who graduated a load of talent last year, including Abby Carpenter, the state player of the year. “Celina (Kaufman) is so strong in that center-forward position. … We’re lucky because Riley (Tengwall) is my wing and Maggie’s my midfielder. They have been playing together since they were six years old. They communicate without ever having to open their mouths. Celina and Ella (Kaufman) are sisters. They know where to be for each other. And it has really paid off.”

Wilt admitted she was more concerned with how her defense, which also suffered heavy graduation losses, was going to perform this season.

“I was a little worried about losing Hope (Wobbe) as a goalie,” Wilt said. “Julia (Abendschoen) has done a great job in the goal cage, and defense has done such a great job of keeping people from even taking shots.

“It’s been a very well-rounded team this year I feel,” Wilt continued. “Probably the most well-rounded team that I’ve had.”

While the Buccaneers have racked up 75 goals this season, they shut out all five of their North opponents, blanked five others, and have surrendered just two goals all year — one to Parkside and one to Bennett.

Despite those impressive numbers, Queen Anne’s goalie Ashley Riggleman (five saves) and her defense held Kent Island scoreless through the game’s first 21 minutes, and had Wilt pleading with her team to find a path when passing.

“I just felt like they weren’t utilizing their passing game as much as they normally do,” Wilt said. “That’s what has been out strength this year. We have been able to get around other teams really quickly just by creating an open path and moving with the ball. I felt like we weren’t doing that as well at the beginning of this game.

“I think it gets in their heads,” Wilt said of her team being perhaps nervous early. “It’s a huge rivalry. They knew last year they lost it to them. So yeah, I think there was a little bit of nerves; the seniors knowing this was their last chance for it.”

Despite holding a 4-1 advantage on penalty corners over the first 21 minutes, the Buccaneers were unable to put a shot past Riggleman until 8:35 remained in the half as Silver sent a hard drive that appeared the slip through the pads of Queen Anne’s goalie.

Less than three minutes later, Kent Island set up for its fifth penalty corner of the half, and again Silver converted for a 2-0 lead.

“Second one, it was a rebound off the goalie and I reversed it in,” Silver said.

“Maggie is like that second person that sets up the goals,” Wilt said. “She doesn’t necessarily have the assist every time, but she is in on every single play. And just watching her play, she just has the ability to move the ball into an open space. And she doesn’t get tangled up with other players. She’s been a huge asset for us.

“Her goals were gorgeous,” Wilt continued. “They were beautiful, strong, hard pushes into the goal cage. And that’s what we’ve been trying to work on. Instead of the drive where the goalie’s going to stop it and we have to rebound it, let’s move the ball to where the goalie’s not. And she did that twice.”

Queen Anne’s (9-3, 4-1) finished with just one corner in the opening 30 minutes and no shots on goal.

“We have some young players up front and the speed of Kent Island is very challenging,” said Lions assistant coach Paul Masucci, who was filling in for head coach Shana Corder. “So it was a bit of work for them. We made adjustments throughout the game to see if we couldn’t get up ahead of the ball and maybe give ourselves some opportunities to score. But they also had a strong defense and when we had position we just couldn’t convert. So if you can’t finish you can’t get a goal on the board.”

The Bucs got on the board again 12:08 into the second half when Tengwall sent an entry pass off a corner to Ella Kaufman, who drove the ball toward goal where Emery Betcher knocked it in for a 3-0 lead.

Though the Lions did push into Kent Island territory in the second half, the Buccaneers’ defense of Fronczek, Marissa Plumer, Delaney O’Brien and Cambell Beach, a former midfielder turned defender this season, held Queen Anne’s to just one shot on goal.

“That’s an outstanding Kent Island team,” Masucci said. “I think our defense was a little bit thrown by their speed and the attack in the first half. But (our) corner defense held strong. I think they were really solid throughout the rest of the game and got better as they went on, considering the pace of the attack and the strength of the attack.

“I’m just very impressed with what they did to hold them off from more goals,” Masucci added. “Ashley had an outstanding game; just was swatting flies out there, knocking ‘em down. I thought she did an excellent job keeping us in the game, giving us an opportunity.”

Easton 3, St. Michaels 0

ST. MICHAELS — Kathleen Crouch scored two goals and Katherine Knox added another as the Warriors capped their regular season by blanking the Saints. Lexi Gordon picked up the shutout for Easton (5-7, 2-3). St. Michaels slipped to 3-8, 2-3.

Follow me on Twitter @Bill_Haufe. Email me at bhaufe@stardem.com

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