Severna Park started a bit slowly in Tuesday’s field hockey matchup with visiting Glenelg. The Gladiators scored an early goal and controlled play in the opening minutes before the Falcons came to life.
After that, Severna Park got first-half goals from Lila Slattery, Delaney Ott and Ashley Bellotte in just under 16 minutes. But the No. 3 Falcons needed a strong effort from second-half goalie Maddy Nutter and their defense to hold on for a 3-2 victory over No. 2 Glenelg at Kinder Farm Park.
Severna Park (4-0) controlled play for much of the first half after the sluggish start, and the Falcons held a 3-2 halftime lead. They outshot Glenelg 9-4 in the first half and slowed the speedy Gladiators after those first several minutes.
The second half was a different story. Severna Park’s first-half goalie Celia Krohn made two saves and wasn’t as busy as Nutter, who finished with nine stops.
The Falcons needed all of them against the relentless Gladiators.
“They’re so fast, and they’re so quick,” Nutter said. “They came at us very hard. I thought [our] defense did a pretty good job. We work on defense in the circle.”
They needed that defense in the second half as Glenelg (2-1) held a 9-2 edge in shots on goal in the final 30 minutes. The Gladiators also created several scoring chances with their speed.
Severna Park coach Ann Andrews said Nutter played well, along with Mallary Sellers, Olivia Hubbart and Hailey Blachly on defense, especially in the second half as the Gladiators pushed to tie in the final 15 minutes.
“They were very physical and very fast,” Andrews said. “They were beating us to the loose balls. It’s a good win, but I wasn’t happy with [some things]…we tried to respond to speed with speed.”
Still, the Falcons played tight defense when Glenelg threatened to tie late. The Gladiators earned several penalty corners in the final minutes, and the Falcons defense and Nutter responded with timely plays.
Glenelg had a corner as the clock ran out. The Gladiators got to finish the play but could not score.
“[Severna Park] is so strong in the circle,” Glenelg coach Nikki Trunzo said. “They stepped up to the ball, and we just, unfortunately, could not finish.”
Glenelg fared better offensively in the first half when Kathryn Hoffman gave the Gladiators a 1-0 lead after a save by Krohn bounced back to Hoffman just 3:11 in.
Slattery tied it nearly seven minutes later before several Severna Park corners began to pay off. Ott gave them a 2-1 lead with 12:41 left in the half after a corner.
The Gladiators tied it with 9:46 remaining in the first half when Tess Muneses broke in behind the defense and scored. Bellotte scored to go-ahead goal 3:57 before halftime on an assist from Megan Brannen (two assists), beating goalie Rachel Barker, who finished with eight saves.
Glenelg’s best chance late came when a shot by Paige Reese was deflected off the crossbar with about 90 seconds left. Nutter and the Severna Park defense eventually swept the ball away.
Goals: G — Hoffman, Muneses; S — Slattery, Ott, Bellotte. Assists: S — Ott 2. Saves: G — Barker 8; S — Krohn 2, Nutter 9. Half: S, 3-2.