CATONSVILLE -- No one said getting in position to win another state championship would be easy, even for the Severna Park girls lacrosse team. But this was a bit much.
First came a Dulaney team that proved more stubborn than it was skilled. What followed were heavy rains, occasional flashes of lightning, a lengthy delay with three minutes remaining and, finally, word that the game would be resumed.
Premature word, that is. The officials reversed their decision as players and coaches hurried toward the field, giving Severna Park a rain-shortened, 17-9 win over the second-seeded Lions in the Class 4A/3A state semifinals Friday at Catonsville Community College.
The third-seeded Falcons (14-1) can extend their remarkable string of championships to six with a victory over the winner of yesterday's game between No. 1 Perry Hall and No. 4 Catonsville at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Catonsville Community College.
"Too cold, too rainy," was Severna Park coach Carin Peterson's assessment, as she stood under an umbrella in the parking lot. "It wasn't a very nice game to watch, especially in the second half, when it really started to come down."
Interestingly, the Falcons' performance actually improved after halftime -- and after Peterson lectured them sternly about "laziness" and "not playing their game."
Severna Park netted the first three goals in just three minutes, taking advantage of repeated defensive lapses. When sophomore Colleen Gately scored with 12:52 left in the half, the Falcons had a 7-1 lead, and seemingly had Dulaney (13-3) on the ropes.
Instead, "I think they relaxed a little too much with that fast start," Peterson said.
The Lions scored three quick goals to shrink the deficit to 7-4 with 10:21 left. And though the Falcons held a 23-8 edge in shots through one half, they hadn't put enough distance between themselves and the opposition.
"We got a little bit of confidence," said Dulaney coach Mary Ann Sattler. "We tested them out, and once we saw what they could and couldn't do, we were able to control our stick work a little better.
"Our prime objective was to get the ball down and shoot low. Almost all of our goals were low, below the knee."
Falcons junior Amy Carnaggio, who scored five goals, said, "We were very surprised the way they came back. I guess we just thought that we had it. But we didn't come all this way to lose."
Severna Park's Kathy McCafferty and Dulaney's Marilee Bosley traded goals to begin the second half. The Falcons' Erin Wylde then took a pass from Liz Warfield, who stood behind the net, and scored to give her team a 12-7 lead with 16:51 remaining.
Carnaggio scored the next two goals -- both off passes from Nicki Cecere -- before Dulaney's Kara Lipski answered with 11:28 left.
Back came the Falcons, this time with Liz Wilson scooping up a ground ball and beating Dulaney keeper Sky Thacker.
Wylde would score on a long sprint to Thacker with around four minutes left, increasing the lead to 17-9 and giving Severna Park 43 goals in three playoff games.
Cecere had three goals and two assists for the Falcons, who ended up with a 42-13 advantage in shots. Warfield, Wylde and Wilson each had two goals.
Bosley tallied four goals for Dulaney (13-3), which lost to Severna Park in last year's state quarterfinals.