Severna Park and Broadneck have developed one of the area's top girls lacrosse rivalries. Close games have been the norm between the Anne Arundel County powers, including last year's one-goal Severna Park victory.
But on Friday, it was Broadneck that won. Sparked by a five-goal run, the host Bruins turned a three-goal second-half deficit into a 9-8 victory over the defending Class 4A-3A state champions.
Senior midfielder Ellie McNulty's four-goal effort led the Bruins (8-2, 6-1), but it was the performance by senior goalkeeper Natalee Easthom that made the difference. Easthom shut the door on Severna Park's powerful offensive game, totaling 10 saves while allowing just one goal in the last 21 minutes, 10 seconds of the game.
"Natalee proved that she was mentally and physically ready for this game," Broadneck coach Karen Tengwall said. "She was going to do anything she could to make sure that ball didn't go into the net."
In a first half that featured four ties, Falcons senior midfielder Morgan Torggler scored the game's first goal with almost eight minutes elapsed, but McNulty scored twice to give the Bruins their first lead. The visitors then went on a 3-1 run, regaining the lead on a free-position goal by senior midfielder Ryan Bathras at the 7:08 mark. Broadneck tied the game on a goal by senior midfielder Aislinn Probst, but Falcons freshman midfielder Laura Milliker scored just 29 seconds later, giving Severna Park a 5-4 halftime edge.
Severna Park (7-2, 6-1) started fast in the second half, utilizing free-position goals by freshman midfielder Eva Klaus and Torggler to take its largest lead of the game at 7-4. But the Bruins countered quickly, scoring five goals in an eight-minute span to take the lead for good. Goals by McNulty and Probst started the rally, and McNulty scored again to tie the game with 12:50 remaining.
A two-minute penalty against Broadneck gave the Falcons a chance to retake the lead. Instead, it was the home team that took advantage of the situation. The inspired Bruins used plays by junior attacker Kendall Lupinek to score two shorthanded goals and take the lead for good. Lupinek broke free in the middle of the field, took a feed from senior attacker Zoe Earnest, and scored the go-ahead goal with 9:35 remaining. Lupinek then fed senior midfielder Kacy Koolage for an insurance goal 26 seconds later to extend Broadneck's lead to 9-7.
"When we got down on those two free-position shots, all I could think about was stopping the ball," Easthom said. "We worked so hard, and there was no way we were going to lose this game."
The Maryland-bound Torggler scored her fourth goal on a free-position shot with 6:56 left, and Severna Park kept the pressure on Easthom and the Broadneck defense. But Easthom, who is headed for Northwestern, made huge back-to-back saves with just over three minutes remaining and Broadneck was able to run out the clock.
"We knew it was going to take one or two big plays," Tengwall said. "It gives us momentum to move forward. We finally got over this hurdle, and this can be a season-changer for us."