Megan Wears, a senior forward on South County’s field hockey team, had a feeling her team would avenge its Oct. 2 loss to W.T. Woodson. "After that game, I knew we could win the next time we played them," she said.
Wears' prediction began to come true on Thursday, Oct. 22, when she scored a goal mid-way through the first half of the Patriot District Championship to give the Stallions a 1-0 lead over Woodson.
"I knew after 10 minutes that we would match their intensity and beat them," she said. "After we got the first goal, everything just seemed to click."
The Stallions matched the Cavaliers’ strong offense, a group that had been held to less than two goals in a game by only one other team this season, South County.
"It was a back-and-forth game," said South County head coach Leah Conte. "It was 1-0 at half time and I told [my players that Woodson] would come at us fired up."
Knowing that the second-half surge from Woodson would be tough for her defense to bear, senior defender Caitlyn Kost encouraged her teammates throughout the game.
"I made sure to tell everyone else that they were doing great," Kost said. "I would tell my teammates what they were doing well and support others like they would support me."
The Stallions matched the Cavaliers' intensity in the second half and Erica Binzer's goal midway through the half helped seal the win.
South County defeated Woodson 2-0, winning back-to-back Patriot District Championships.
The victory was especially satisfying because the team's regular season loss to Woodson was a turning point in the season, Conte said.
"Every game since we played Woodson [on Oct. 2], we've worked on the little things that we weren't performing well, keeping our sticks down, winning balls, executing and not giving up corners and playing together," Conte said.
Before the loss to Woodson, the Stallions were 8-4, a number that suggested the reigning Patriot District champs were struggling.
"At the beginning of the season I knew we would do well if we continued to get better," Conte said. "A lot of people look at our slump in the middle of the season, but really we were just working to get to this point."
Although the season hasn't been easy, the lessons learned from their losses helped the team in the later stages of the season, Kost said.
"We were still learning in the beginning of the year," Kost said. "We knew we had to make [all of that work] count at the end of the season."
South County also was propelled by the team's depth. "More people were scoring and stepping up," Wears said. "It was great. It helped us down the stretch."
"This is the first year where our bench is as strong as the people on the field," Wears said. "We have so many talented sophomores. This year our team is amazing."
With the district tournament complete, the Stallions now are chasing a regional title.
"Our team wants to do well in the regional tournament," Conte said. "We're going to enjoy our win, but then we're going to get back to work."