The No. 6 Severna Park field hockey team is used to winning. The Falcons are the defending state champions and they, along with South River and Broadneck, have dominated high school field hockey in Anne Arundel County for years.
Last night at the Annapolis senior night and Play for the Cure game, the Falcons won again. Severna Park defeated No. 14 Annapolis, 4-2, to improve their record to 10-2.
"It was an exciting game," said Adley Bearisto, who scored Severna Park's two second-half goals. "I was here for [former coach] Lil Shelton's 500th win. In that game, we beat them by so much [9-0]. This game was totally different.
"I think what worked was we got our shots off. Their goalie [Summer Batten, 16 saves] was good, but we were able to get the rebound. We had to be prepared after the initial shot and we were."
Annapolis coach Angela Carpita had no problem admitting Severna Park, No. 2 South River and No.7 Broadneck are the powers in the county. But she also sees that gap is narrowing.
"I think our girls have proven this year, in a tough loss to South River, against Broadneck and in this game tonight that we're 180 degrees from where we were in years past," said Carpita of her team which is now 7-3. . "Our expectations are that we can see there is a light and we can touch it."
The Panthers were "a little rattled" at the start, Carpita said. Severna Park connected with its passes, and as Bearisto said, was able to gather the ball for those all-important second chances.
With a little less than 6 minutes gone in the opening half, Severna Park got one of its seven corner opportunities and though Annapolis cut off the initial shot, Marissa Balleza was able to get the ball back and drove it through a thicket of legs for the Falcons' first goal.
Severna Park's Samantha Slattery got her team's second goal with 19:16 left in the half off another corner opportunity.
But that was it for the Falcons in the half as Annapolis began to get a feel for the game and made impressive, sweeping plays of its own to keep the ball in Severna Park's end for extended periods.
Panther senior Erika Kopf scored with 10:08 to go in the first half and junior captain Ceara O'Donnel made it 4-2 with 9:15 left in the game.
"Annapolis is definitely stronger than they've been," Severna Park coach Anne Andrews said. "We were very aware of Ceara [O'Donnel] and Kayla [Devlin] and Haley Bowcutt. They've got a lot of nice players. It's the one problem I have with my girls. Everyone in our county is strong this year. It's taken my girls a little bit to realize that."