It didn't matter who was marking Severna Park's Stephanie Roberts yesterday. The senior forward was unstoppable from the beginning.
And so was her team.
Roberts scored twice and set up another goal in the opening half, and the ninth-ranked Falcons went on to a surprising 5-1 victory over No. 3 and previously unbeaten Old Mill.
Freshman Lindsey Poland, sophomore Michelle Rose and junior Erin Wylde also scored for visiting Severna Park (9-1-1). Junior Michelle Salmon accounted for Old Mill's only goal late in the first half.
Old Mill coach Bruce Sponsler assigned sophomore Denise King to Roberts at the start of the game. Soon after, he switched to junior Natalie Bell. By late in the first half, after the Falcons had a 3-0 lead, he went back to King.
"I knew [King] was marking me, but I scored right off the bat," said Roberts, who has 18 goals and three assists. "I love it when people mark me. It makes me play harder."
A motivation for the team was Old Mill's 2-1 win last year that broke Severna Park's unbeaten streak at 57 games. The loss at least temporarily dropped Old Mill (10-1) from the top seeding in Region II, four points behind Chesapeake.
"I told the girls that this was not the game we had to win," said Sponsler, whose team had won 29 straight regular-season games. "I'm not pleased at all, but it's just one game. I'm not going to push the panic button."
Roberts scored first at 9 minutes, 55 seconds when she rolled a shot that glanced off the right post and into the net. The lead increased to 2-0 at 14:37. Roberts took a shot from the left side that Old Mill keeper Jackie Bardelli slowed, but couldn't control. Poland, who was trailing, tapped the ball into the net.
Roberts blew past Bell and drilled a shot past Bardelli for a 3-0 lead at 21:57. Severna Park had taken just four shots in building a commanding lead over Old Mill, which had given up five goals all season.
Salmon (16 goals, four assists) scored for Old Mill with a blast from 25 yards that hit Severna Park freshman keeper Shannon Chaney in the hands, then bounced into the net. But the Falcons scored twice more in the second half, despite being outshot, 18-9.
"We figured if we could control Michelle Salmon, then the others would have to do the work," Joyce Stefancik said. "We had Jess Hines on her. She's one of the finest fullbacks we have. We always assign Jess to the leading scorer, and she always comes through.
"I thought our defense could handle them without a problem, and I really didn't think they had anybody who could stay with Steph Roberts."