Severna Park's girls lacrosse players celebrated just about as much after Thursday night's win over neighborhood rival Severn as they had after winning last year's state championship.
In many ways, this victory was just as important.
The No. 7 Falcons (4-0) held on for an 11-9 victory at the Anne Arundel Community College tournament, avenging last season's loss to Severn in the same event.
After Ryan Bathras scored the game-winner with 4:36 to go and Morgan Torggler added her fourth goal of the game for a little insurance, goalie Camille King made a pair of big saves in the final two minutes to preserve the win.
"This is just a big rivalry game for us," Torggler said. "It's one of the biggest games of the year. Since all our friends are on that team, it's a big local team competition. We were kind of underdogs in this game knowing that we lost last year and we just had to come out fired up and we did. We were so ready to beat them."
The Admirals (3-5) jumped ahead 2-0 and led 3-2 after Cami Whiteford's goal with 7:38 left in the first half. Torrggler then fed Ally Adams to set off a five-goal Severna Park run to finish the half with the Falcons leading 7-3.
The second half went back and forth until Alexa Kunowsky and Beth Willertz scored consecutive goals to pull Severn within 9-7 with 6:17 remaining.
Severna Park coach Carin Peterson then took a timeout, and one of the Admirals called out, "All we need is the draw," as she ran into the huddle. But the Falcons, who had won only one previous draw in the half, controlled the next two and the Admirals didn't get another shot until Kunowsky scored her third and final goal with 2:42 to go.
That cut the lead to 11-9, and Severn controlled the next draw. The Admirals fired off four shots from four different directions between the 1:55 mark and 1:30, but one hit the pipe, one sailed wide and King, who finished with six saves, stopped the other two.
"It was so nerve-racking and it could have gone either way," the senior goalie said. "You have to be ready. It's so situational. You just have to be ready for whatever's going to come. You have to step up in big games like this."
With 30 seconds remaining, the Admirals forced a Severna Park turnover and Willertz fed Rachel Steinberg for the final goal with 23.7 seconds left. Falcons defender Jenny Skrenta controlled the final draw.
The Admirals, who won last year's game 13-12, also got a strong effort from their defense and goalie Meredith Brown (11 saves).
"We didn't give up," Severn coach Renie Sotiropolous said. "My goalkeeper made some key saves; she's a sophomore. My settled defense was pretty good until we had to pressure them out a little bit [late in the game] and they took advantage of that. Offensively, we were under the gun to get a shot off, so we weren't really able to organize ourselves."
Goals: SP—Torrgler 4, Bathras 3, Lloyd 2, Adams, Wells; SEV—Kunowsky 3, Steele 2, Willertz, Foard, Whiteford, Steinberg. Assists: SP—Torggler, Bathras; SEV--Willertz 2. Saves: SP—King 6; SEV—Brown 11. Half: SP, 7-3.