When Arundel girls soccer coach Paul Yannuzzi spoke earlier this week about playing co-No. 2 Severna Park, he said, "I hope they're nice to us."
That was before he heard that the Falcons had been upset by Old Mill, 3-0, on Tuesday. His hopes for leniency had become wishful thinking.
Jess Hines had a goal and an assist, and Severna Park posted its 10th shutout in a 2-0 victory over the Wildcats in the last regular-season game for both teams.
A victory would have given Arundel (10-2) the No. 1 seeding in next week's 3A-4A East region playoffs. Instead, it remains second, behind undefeated Western of Baltimore.
The Falcons (11-1), who were beaten by Centennial in last year's state semifinals, are the top seed in the 3A-4A South region.
"When Old Mill beat us, and they did beat us soundly, it made us reassess what we needed to do," said Falcons coach Joyce Stefancik. "That's good. If you're going to lose, I'd rather lose in the regular season. We regrouped tonight."
The first half was a defensive struggle, with few scoring opportunities until four minutes remained. Arundel goalkeeper Marcia Lavin fell near the left post, and Hines gathered a pass from Shelley Seivert and tapped the ball into an open net.
"Shelley had a really nice direct kick, and our offense did a good job of following it up," Hines said. "It was just lucky that I got it. Everybody on our offense was right there."
Before that goal, Erin Wylde blasted a shot from 25 yards out that Lavin caught for her fifth save.
Wylde wouldn't be denied at 8:40 of the second half, however, when she scored from 20 yards out. The senior midfielder passed the ball to Hines, who tapped it back to Wylde.
Arundel had nearly tied the score before Wylde converted. Falcons goalkeeper Shannon Chaney made a diving save early in the second half,
and she leaped to grab a corner kick from Kristen Smeby.
"Today, Severna Park was a better team than us," said Yannuzzi, whose squad had won seven in a row. "They're more experienced; they're a good team. Our girls learned. This is the first time we've been in the playoffs since '81. It's the first winning season they've had since '85. So, they're learning. I'm not upset at all. I'll sleep tonight."
Stefancik assigned sophomore Susan Stanke to mark Arundel's leading scorer, Barb Muller, and she said: "The changes that we made seemed to pay off. I'm very pleased overall with the way our kids played."