Severna Park's No. 3-ranked girls lacrosse team survived late surge by visiting No. 5 Annapolis to win the Class 4A-3A, Region IV championship, 7-5, yesterday.
With the victory, the Falcons (14-0) advance to the state &L; semifinals at Catonsville Community College. Severna Park still has two more games to win before it can claim the state title, but more than a few people believed yesterday's game was for the state championship.
"I hope the people at this game realized what they were seeing today," said Annapolis coach Dave Gehrdes. "That was the state championship game right there. It's just a shame that the two best teams have to meet this early in the tournament."
The Panthers (12-2) gave the Falcons all they could handle in the second half. Severna Park had a 4-1 lead after the first half and increased its lead to 6-1 on goals by Amy Carnaggio and Kathy McCafferty. But the Panthers were not about to quit.
Annapolis tallied four straight goals to draw within one.
Amy Brew started things for the Panthers with 15:45 remaining. Nicole Deschamps kept things going when she scored after coming from behind the goal with 13:26 left to play. Karen Hunt made it three straight less than three minutes later with her first goal.
Severna Park goalie Brandee Snyder finished with 11 saves and most of those came off free-position shots for Annapolis. She said after the game that she just tried to keep her composure and put the goals behind her.
"There was a timeout called some time after their run," Snyder said. "Coach [Carin] Peterson just tried to settle us down and keep us focused.
"We knew we could stop them. We just had to stay in our defense."
Annapolis got one more goal when Cristi Samaras scored her second goal off a fast break with 6:45 left. But the Panther comeback ended there. Severna Park's Tressa Campbell finished the scoring with two seconds left in the game.
Peterson called the victory a team effort, but did single out a few players.
"We had some players come up big for us today," Peterson said.
"Stephanie Roberts did another great job on Cristi Samaras even though she might have a stress fracture in her leg, and Brandee Snyder was great in goal. They all started to run out of gas in the second half and that led to the run by Annapolis, but we turned it up a notch when it got close."
It looked like it was going to be a Falcons blowout in the first half. After Samaras had staked the Panthers to a 1-0 lead, the Falcons scored four straight times.
McCafferty scored her first goal with 22:22 left and that goal was followed less than a minute later by Carnaggio's first.
Colleen Gately fed Roberts for a 3-1 lead at the 15:48 mark and Shelley Seivert finished the scoring on a free-position goal.