After losing to perennial powerhouse Severna Park in last year's Class 4A/3A state championship game, the Westminster girls' lacrosse team had waited for the chance to play the Falcons again.
The Owls arrived at UMBC Stadium Wednesday night, but had to hold off for another day when lightning storms forced the postponement of the scheduled meeting between last year's state finalists.
But an extra day to prepare for the rematch didn't matter, as Severna Park took an early six-goal lead and cruised to its second consecutive championship victory over the Owls, 13-6, on Thursday at UMBC Stadium.
Westminster, which has lost to Severna Park in the state final three of the last four years, finished with a 13-5 mark.
The Falcons, who won their fifth state title in six years and 11th overall, ended with a 19-2 record.
"I know it's frustrating for the girls, especially for the seniors who have been here three of the last four years," said Owl head coach Jackie Stevens. "But it's still an accomplishment. There's nothing wrong with being second in the state."
Senior attack Missy Cohen gave the Owls their only lead when she scored the game's opening goal three minutes into the first half.
Just 24 seconds later, Severna Park midfielder Ryan Bathras started a run of seven unanswered Falcon goals. Morgan Torggler, the Falcons' leading scorer, and Bathras each scored twice during the surge that gave Severna Park a 7-1 edge with 7:18 left in the first half.
Westminster ended its scoring drought when junior attack Megan Pettine tallied at the 5:53 mark, and the Owls continued their modest run with a Tori McDonald goal that narrowed the deficit to 7-3 at halftime.
But Torggler, who led all scorers with five goals and two assists, provided a spark for the Falcons in the opening minutes of the second half. The junior midfielder fed Kelsey Kirk for the Falcons' eighth goal, then scored less than a minute later to boost Severna Park's advantage to 9-3. The Falcons led by at least five goals for the remainder of the game.
"I don't think we were mentally there today," said Owl senior midfielder Meghan Macera. "We got all pumped up in the locker room, but we came out flat and just couldn't come back from that. They were all fast, and their midfield was getting it down the field with quick passes. We were unsettled, and we couldn't keep up with them."
While the Falcon offense was the model of efficiency, Severna Park junior goalie Camille King was shutting down the Owls at the other end. King, who finished with nine saves, stopped several point-blank Westminster shots throughout the contest and often started the Falcons' vaunted transition game.
"Transition is so important to us," said senior midfielder Ally Adams, who scored two goals. "When you get the ball down fast, it wears down the other team and gives us the opportunity to either score on a fast break or get settled in the offense that we want to run."
Westminster was led by Pettine's two goals and one assist. But the Falcons did an excellent defensive job on Macera, the Owls' top scorer who will play college lacrosse at Virginia Tech.
Players from both teams admitted that they would have preferred to play the game on Wednesday night.
The teams were in uniform and ready to take the field as soon as the boys' state title game between Westminster and South River ended. But that game was delayed for nearly two hours, and the Westminster girls had to get back on the team bus.
"It was mentally exhausting," said Owl junior goalie Caroline Russell, who finished with seven saves.
But the one-day delay certainly didn't affect a Severna Park team that has been dealing with a much weightier crisis: the death of sophomore midfielder Tracy Vander Kolk earlier this month.
"The team, the parents, the community, and the teams that we played have all been phenomenal," said Falcon head coach Carin Peterson, who has guided the program to all 11 of its championships. "I couldn't ask for a better group of girls and parents, and I thank them for what they have done."
Severna Park 13, Westminster 6
Severna Park 76 13
Goals: Westminster - Megan Pettine 2, Missy Cohen, Tori McDonald, Carolyn Jamison, Meghan Macera; Severna Park - Morgan Torggler 5, Ryan Bathras 3, Kelsey Kirk 2, Ally Adams 2, Abby Walker
Assists: Westminster - Megan Pettine, Krissy Murphy; Severna Park - Morgan Torggler 2, Julianna Ricci, Lizzy Lloyd
Saves: Westminster - Caroline Russell 7, Hailey Poisal 1Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun