The opposing coaches regarded Michelle Salmon from different standpoints when they spoke about the Old Mill soccer star before the game.
"We'll try to deny her the ball," said Severna Park's Joyce Stefancik. "She's good, but if we play good defense, she can't do it all."
Said Old Mill's Bruce Sponsler: "She has to get open and take a lot of shots. The more shots Michelle takes, the more she scores. I hope she takes one or two defenders with her wherever she goes, because that'll open things up for others."
Salmon shot 17 times last night and scored two goals as No. 7 Old Mill (9-2) stunned co-No. 2 Severna Park, 3-0, in the rain at the Patriots' field.
It was Severna Park's first defeat since last year's state semifinals (Centennial) and first in the regular season since the second game of last season (Broadneck).
The Falcons (10-1) entered the game with a 35-2 scoring advantage over opponents this season, having surrendered both goals to Chesapeake in a 3-2 victory.
Reality reared its head 10 minutes into last night's game. Carina Sonberg scored for Old Mill and Salmon added two goals, both headers, in the second half.
"The sun will come up tomorrow," Stefancik said as she braced for tomorrow's game against Arundel. "We never solved them. On this
night, they were a better team. They hustled a lot, beat us to the ball."
Few teams have been able to contain Salmon. The senior forward has 14 goals in her last five games, 31 this season and a county-record 86 in her career.
Sponsler called the second half, which Old Mill dominated, her best of the year. "Gorgeous" was Stefancik's description of Salmon's headers. "That's all you can say; they were gorgeous shots. She had a great game."
It was Old Mill's first victory over Severna Park since 1991. The Falcons broke Old Mill's 36-game regular-season winning streak last year and beat the Patriots again in the playoffs in double overtime. Sponsler still winces at the mention of that.
"This was the first time this season we've played a good game against a good team," Sponsler said.
Old Mill outshot Severna Park 28-10, and Patriots goalie Jackie Bardelli had 10 saves.
"Jackie made three saves in the first half that were spectacular," Sponsler said.
Once the tone was set, Salmon took over. Sponsler has pointed out that Salmon was the only Maryland girl on the national under-16 team the last two years and that her experience has lifted the Patriots.