Severna Park's girls lacrosse players like taking on the private school teams in Anne Arundel County, and they really enjoyed Monday's season opener against Archbishop Spalding.
The No. 4 Falcons dominated possession in the first half and ran up a 9-1 lead en route to a 16-3 victory over the sixth-ranked Cavaliers at Kinder Park that avenged last year's opening-day loss.
"We definitely have a lot of fire from last year because they beat us," said Falcons senior Laura Milleker, who had five goals and an assist Monday. "They're always a good team and, being a private school, they're so different from us. We see the same teams every year and we don't get to play Spalding that often so it's a treat when we get to play the private schools because it's new and fresh and it's good competition."
In less than five minutes, the Falcons took the lead on free-position goals from Angelica Jensen and Milleker. The Cavaliers (1-1) kept the game close for the first 10 minutes as Logan Edmondson raced to goal off the draw to cut the margin to 2-1 with 20:08 left.
Milleker than scored back-to-back goals. Lillian Ross scored twice and Brooke Stein, Jensen and Eva Klaus finished off the half with single goals.
"Right from the beginning, I thought we had control. We didn't want to sit back and react to what they did. We wanted them to react to what we did," said Milleker, adding that the Falcons were reminded of that Saturday at the Cape Henlopen, Del., playday. "We played some teams we hadn't played before and we were reacting to them and we learned from that."
The defending Class 4A-3A state champions won nine of the first 11 draws against Spalding and outshot the Cavaliers, 21-4, in the first half.
"We're figuring out who we are," Spalding coach Tara (Restly) Shea said. "We knew, losing a lot of scoring power and a ton of seniors, we were having kids step into major roles. We need to be way more disciplined. I think today that was a clear difference-maker in Severna Park and us. They were much more disciplined. The ball hit the ground and that 50-50 ball was theirs. We know that needs to be our ball."
The Cavaliers won the first two draws of the second half and had the better of possession for the first 10 minutes. Lilly Stump worked the crease for two goals to cut the lead to 9-3 with 16:04 left.
A little more than two minutes later, Sarah Elms fed Abbi O'Neal to snap that run and spark a seven-goal Falcons' finish as they won eight of the last nine draws.
"We know that the big flip moments happen in one minute," Klaus said. "You have a string of two goals and then the momentum totally flips so we knew we couldn't let that happen and even though they scored twice, we couldn't let that get in our heads."
While much of the Falcons' offense returns from last season, they have a largely new defense and coach Kaitlyn (Fuller) Hines said she was most impressed with their effort in limiting Spalding's chances throughout the game. First-year goalie Amanda Rumsey had six saves.
"The thing that I was really impressed with was our defense," Hines said. "We had a brand-new goalie and we had a lot of new players to defense. A lot of them played offense last year and are now on my line D, so it was a whole new set back there and they really hung together and fought for that good team D."
The Cavaliers open their A Conference schedule Wednesday at No. 15 John Carroll before they and the Falcons play at the South River Girls Lacrosse Showcase on Thursday and Saturday.
Severna Park will play Queen Anne's Thursday at 6:45 p.m. and No. 10 Severn Saturday at 5 while Spalding plays Hutchinson, Tenn., Thursday at 5 and No. 12 South River Saturday at 6:45.
4Severna Park 16, 6Archbishop Spalding 3
Goals: SP—Milleker 5, Klaus 3, Jensen 2, Elms 2, Ross 2, O'Neal, Stein; AS—Stump 2, Edmondson. Assists: SP—Milleker, Chadwick, Domshick, Elms; AS—none. Saves: SP—Rumsey 6; AS—LaVeck 5, Mervine 1. Half: SP, 9-1.