For the South River's girls lacrosse team, Tuesday night's game at rival Severna Park was personal. Very personal.
After allowing No. 12 Severna Park (9-3) to end their season last year, No. 10 South River (11-2) used an opportunistic offense and a bend-but-don't-break defense to defeat the Falcons, 16-13, in a key Anne Arundel County league game.
"This feels great. It's redemption for us," said South River senior Alex Watson, who led all scorers with five goals. "We knew we could prove that we could win this game, and we went out and did it."
Morgan Torggler led Severna Park with four goals.
Goals were plentiful in the first half. After Ryan Bathras' goal with 6:27 left in the half tied the game at 5-5, South River began to take over.
Jacquelyn Splading weaved her way through traffic and put a low shot past Severna Park goalie Rachel Vander Kolk to give the Seahawks the lead with 1:50 left in the half. The Hawks lengthened their lead to 7-5 on the next possession, when Jennifer Mulligan found Spalding cutting towards the net and hit her in stride with a terrific pass.
Spalding then found Alex Watson unmarked in front of the net, and Watson's shot with 32 seconds left beat Vander Kolk high and ran the lead to 8-5 at the half.
The Seahawks began to assert themselves on offense early in the second half. After Torggler scored for Severna Park just 2:26 into the half to cut the margin to 8-6, South River scored four of the next five goals to take command. The first came when Amderly Kovalick found Madison Carter with a great pass in front of the net. The Hawks continued the onslaught, getting goals from Taylor Bresnahan and Kacie Longo within a seven-second span to run the lead to 11-6 with 13:07 remaining.
South River eventually ran the lead to 15-8 with 6:30 left, but Severna Park wouldn't go away. The Falcons scored five of the final six goals before South River's defense tightened in the final two minutes.
"I was very disappointed with the way we played at the end," Seahawks coach Kim McNemar said. "We relaxed, and you can't do that. They are a strong team, and they showed that they could come back."
Still, McNamar was pleased with her team's effort.
"Severna Park is a very disciplined team. I allow our team to freelance more on offense, and they play well that way," she said. "Our theme is to play as a family and stick together no matter what. We came out and meshed tonight.
No. 10 South River 16, No. 12 Severna Park 13
Goals: SR – Watson 5, Carter 3, Spalding 3, Longo 2, Pyne, Milligan, Bresnahan ; SP Torggler 4, Bathrus 2, Wells 2, Kirk 2, Milleker 2, Loyd- . Assists: SR- Longo 2, Milligan, Duswalt ; SP – Torggler, Ricci, Milleker. Saves: SR – Duswalt, 6; SP – Vander Kolk, 9. Half, SR 8-5.