Despite going unbeaten for nearly three years and earning three straight state titles, top-ranked Severna Park found out yesterday that winning isn't getting any easier.
The Falcons took a lead midway through the first half, but had to hold off a furious rally in the game's final 10 minutes to preserve a 1-0 win over host and No. 11 St. Mary's.
The victory was Severna Park's 44th straight, but it was anything but easy.
"We got a little tired," said Falcons coach Lillian Shelton. "I think we played our game, because we connected on our passes and got the ball to the wing, but once we got it in the circle we couldn't put it in the goal."
Severna Park (7-0) had numerous chances in the first half -- including eight shots on goal -- but could only score on a redirect from Amy Noble to Sarah Horn 9:33 before halftime.
"It came off her stick and I just punched it in," said Horn. "It's something we practice all the time."
After sitting in a defensive posture for much of the game, however, the Saints (6-1-2), sprang to life in the final 10 minutes, controlling the ball and pelting the Falcons goal with shots.
St. Mary's, led by Natalie Brookman, Rebecca Kuehn, Ashley Rusk and Sarah Tengwall, fired off five shots in the final six minutes, but couldn't convert.
"I thought we controlled it for the last 10 minutes," said St. Mary's coach Patti Lavelle. "We just kept shooting and shooting, and it wouldn't go in. We were missing by inches."
K? The win marked the Falcons' third one-goal victory over the
Saints in as many years, in a series that Shelton calls a growing rivalry.
For St. Mary's, however, the close calls haven't been fulfilling.
"It's very frustrating because it's been this way three years now," said Lavelle. "Today we had our chances but we just couldn't score."
* Fallston 1, North Harford 0: Katie Wirth scored on a corner hit, assisted by Suzanne Scharff, 1:46 into the second half to lift No. 2 Fallston to its fifth straight win.
* Garrison Forest 5, Oldfields 0: Senior right wing Lauren Klein had a goal and an assist and sophomore Cantie Boyd scored two goals to lead host No. 3 Garrison Forest to a season-opening win over Oldfields.
* Severn 1, Park 0: Meghan Bauer scored the game-winner off a pass from Bess Freedlander as No. 9 Severn (4-2) edged host Park.
* Spalding 3, Southern-AA 0: Stephanie Paxson made a hat trick to power No. 10 Spalding (6-1) past visiting Southern-AA (1-6). Jennifer Thomas added two assists to the Cavaliers' cause.
Spalding outshot Southern-AA, 12-7.