As the clock was winding down, Severna Park assistant coach Sue Behringer sent Amy Senger into the scoreless field hockey game with succinct instructions.
"You're going to score," Behringer said.
"I want to," Senger replied.
"Not want," Behringer said. "You will."
Thirty seconds later, Colleen Gately passed the ball in front of the goal and Senger knocked it in with 7:30 remaining.
Top-seeded Severna Park hung on for a 1-0 victory over fourth-seeded Chesapeake yesterday in the Class 4A, East Region final. The Falcons go to the state semifinals next Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Goucher against an opponent to be determined. The state final is Nov. 13.
Severna Park coach Lil Shelton called a timeout before the goal and decided to send in Senger because she "has a tough stick."
Shelton had watched the Falcons come up empty despite outshooting Chesapeake 33-0 in the first half. She suspected her players were "uptight and nervous," perhaps trying too hard.
"We told them to focus on putting the ball in," Shelton said. "We said to get a lot of grrrr [as in growl]. We do that in practice -- grrrr."
Senger saw the ball leave Gately's stick and head toward her.
She struck the ball with authority, and it made a clattering sound loud enough to be heard in the stands as it struck the metal goal.
The Falcons, ranked No. 1 in The Baltimore Sun poll, are 13-0 and have outscored opponents 39-0. They are bidding for their seventh state title since 1978.
No. 13 Chesapeake finished with a 10-2-2 record, and yet another loss to Severna Park after being outshot, 48-1. The Cougars allowed only four goals all season -- all in two losses to Severna Park.
Still, coach Jerry Raab was smiling after the game.
"This was the most outstanding game in Chesapeake's field hockey history," said Raab. "I'm real pleased.
"I thought we had a chance to win if we could have held them scoreless in regulation and gone into overtime.