For the 100 minutes of soccer played in Friday's Class 4A girls championship game, Severna Park was confidently able to say it had the better of the play against a Bethesda-Chevy Chase team that had won state titles the past three years.
But the No. 4 Falcons were unable to score the goal that would assure victory, and when the game ended up being decided in a penalty kick shootout, it was the Barons from Montgomery County who had a little better aim.
Successful penalty kicks from senior Amanda Ross and sophomore Abby Thomas and two saves from sophomore goalkeeper Rachel Vander Kolk weren't enough for the Falcons, who watched Bethesda's Zoe Mesirow score in the fifth and final round to give the Barons the deciding 3-2 margin at UMBC Stadium.
Severna Park, which started the season 0-2, ended with a 15-4-1 mark, falling just short in a bid to add to the program's six titles. The Barons (14-3-2) capture their sixth title and fourth straight.
"We worked hard, especially through the summer months, learning to play with each other. And just getting to know each other, we've become this big family that everybody just loves and connects with," Falcons forward and captain Jen Nance said. "I think we're all very fortunate to make it this far, especially because we worked very hard. It was just unfortunate we couldn't finish on our chances. But we played an awesome team, and I congratulate Bethesda-Chevy Chase."
Led by a dominating performance in the middle from senior Gabby Moreno, the Falcons controlled the midfield most of the way and ended up with a 7-3 advantage in shots on goal. But they were unable to get anything past the Barons' stubborn defense and goalie Angela White.
Neither team sat back, and the best chances in the first half came early.
Nance had the ball deep inside the penalty area in the game's first minute, but her shot from eight yards was right at White.
Barons senior midfielder Hannah Levin hit a heavy shot from 15 yards in the fifth minute that tested Vander Kolk, who was able to tip it over the top crossbar.
Despite having the ball more in the second half, the Falcons weren't able to get many quality chances in close, settling for longer shots that were not as threatening. With 1:25 to play in the first 10-minute overtime, Nance found some rare space and time inside the penalty area, but her shot from 12 yards went just high.
"I'm proud of the girls," Severna Park coach Todd Clark said. "We started out losing our first two games, but the girls put it together and really came together as a team, and it was beautiful to watch. It was fun to see as the season progress, the growth they showed as players and teammates."
Class 4A state final
Bethesda-Chevy Chase 0, No. 4 Severna Park 0
(B-CC wins on penalty kicks, 3-2)
Goals: B-CC – Emden, Doll, Mesirow; SP –Ross, Thomas
Saves: SP -- Vander Kolk 5; B-CC White 7.