The most storied program in state field hockey history on Saturday checked off one accomplishment it had yet to achieve.
Third-ranked Severna Park scored the game's first four goals, including two in the first half by midfielder Jessica Valvano, on its way to a 4-1 win over Wootton in the Class 4A final at Washington College.
It marked the Falcons' state-record 21st title, but the program's first since legendary coach Lil Shelton stepped down following the 2011 season. Shelton's 20 state titles are a National Federation record.
Given the history, players said earning a title for second-year coach Ann Andrews became an even larger priority.
"As a team, we got together without her and said, `Our coach has given so much to us … We owe it to her,'" Valvano said. "It's not only the legend that carries down to us, but we had to prove that she's just as good as any other coach."
The Falcons, who struggled at times during a tough mid-season stretch, showed just how far they had come. Valvano's goal off a rebound just 1:59 into the game was the first of three times that Severna Park scored off a pentlty corner.
The goal was a huge confidence-booster for a team that typically gets off to slow starts
"Quick starts have been something we've struggled with all season," Valvano said. "Today, in the biggest game of the year, it set the tone."
Senior Maeve Doherty also added a goal and an assist for Severna Park (14-3-1), which ended its season with seven straight wins.
"Even if we didn't win the title, it's been such a special season," Andrews said. "This group of seniors won it as sophomores. They really wanted to be back here, and they've been driven since."
Wootton (16-1), which has never has won a title, had entered the day unbeaten, but largely against a slate of unheralded opponents from Montgomery County.
(at Washington College)
Severna Parl 4, Wooton 1
Goals: SP-Valvano 2, Doherty, Klaus ; W-Band. Assists: SP-Reiter, Cummings, Doherty; W-None. Saves: SP-Mata 4; W-Sardelis 2, Darby 3. Half: Severna Park, 4-0.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun