Two goals by Severna Park in the final 24 seconds of the first half squelched Catonsville’s momentum in the girls lacrosse Class 4A-3A title game Wednesday and propelled the No. 11-ranked Falcons to a 15-5 victory and their 12th state title in school history.
Just when Catonsville (10-8) thought it was back in the game, after rallying from a four-goal deficit with two goals to make it 5-3 with 4:13 left in the first half, Severna Park burst the Comets' bubble at UMBC.
A goal by Sarah Childress (3 goals, 2 assists) made it 6-3 with 24 seconds remaining.
Just 13 seconds later, the Falcons took advantage of a man-up situation on a goal by Eva Klaus ( 3 goals) for a 7-3 lead.
“The end of the first half and the beginning of the second half they scored the first two goals and it kind of took away our momentum,” Catonsville coach Becky Cassilly said.
The Falcons (15-2) started the second half like they ended the first half and pushed the lead to 9-3 on scores by Sarah Elms ( 3 goals) and Childress.
Lauren McDonald stemmed the tide when she drove towards the goal and lost control of a ball that trickled through the legs of Falcon goalie Rachel Vander Kolk to make it 9-4 with 21:12 remaining, but Elms responded 36 seconds later and they led 10-4.
The Falcon defense of Julianna Ricci, Jeanne Angeles, Sarah Gun and Lauren Duvall in front of goalie Vander Kolk did the rest and held the Comet to two second-half goals.
Catonsville was playing without senior Brooke Stevens, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament injury in her knee in the Comets’ 11-8 triumph over Sherwood in the state semifinals.
Without the High Point recruit, it was the patient Severna Park offense that took center stage from the outset.
The Falcons scored the first four goals of the game as Klaus and the Falcons controlled the draw circle, winning seven of 10 in the first half.
“No. 7 (Klaus) is literally all over the place and so fast,” Cassilly said.
“Draws are critical and her percentage of draw control in my career are hands down the best,” Severna Park coach Carin Peterson said. “She is up there in the 70 percentile. In this game, that is unheard of.”
Childress assisted Kelsey Kirk for the Falcons’ first goal and Elms made it 2-0 with 17:43 left on a free position goal.
Childress and Kirk made it 4-0 with Kirk’s score coming off a nice feed from Laura Milleker (3 goals, 1 assist).
The Comets finally got on the board when McDonald scored on a free position goal, but Klaus stretched the lead to 5-1 with 9:10 left in the first half.
Catonsville junior Anderson Gill assisted Bri Spinnato to cut the deficit to 5-2 with 4:46 remaining and just 33 seconds later Gill scored after a reverse pivot.
Gill was filling in for Brooke Stevens (44 goals, 32 assists) in the playmaking role behind the goal and was happy to get her team closer.
“We all had to look into ourselves without Brooke, but I was pretty excited,” Gill said. “It’s good to step up and feel like you are helping out.”
Catonsville nearly cut the margin to one, but Jenn Nonn’s shot went off the pipe and Lauren McDonald’s rebound shot was saved by Vander Kolk.
Nonn injured her thigh on the play and the Comets never got any closer.
The Falcons held the ball the last three minutes of the half and broke open the game in the final seconds before intermission.
McDonald (2 goals), the Comets leading scorer (49 goals, 31 assists), never got untracked as she was faceguarded the entire game.
“Anytime someone faceguards you, it kind of takes you out of your game and it’s kind of hard to find a rhythm,” McDonald said.
The Falcons had rhythm all night.
“I said they had to do three things well, they had to communicate on defense, they had to be smart on attack and they had to do the basics and they did all three of those very, very well,” Peterson said.
“We put a lot of effort into getting prepared for this game and Severna Park is really good,” Cassilly said. “They are very well-coached and even the stuff we prepared for they still capitalized on it.”
Goals: Laura Milleker 3, Eva Klaus 3, Sarah Elms 3, Sarah Childress 3, Kelsey Kirk 3
Assists: Childress 2, Milleker 1
Saves: Savannah Cheuvront 7
Goals: Lauren McDonald 2, Anderson Gill 1, Bri Spinnato 1, Andrea McTaggart 1
Assists: Gill 1
Saves: Rachel Van Kolk 8