Severna Park finishes 0-0 with Va. team No. 8 Falcons outshoot Bishop O'Connell 14-5


After goalie Shannon Chaney leaped and deflected the shot with her right hand in the waning moments of overtime, Severna Park soccer coach Joyce Stefancik strolled over to the scorer's table and smiled.

"That's why we give Shannon a multi-million dollar contract," Stefancik said.

Chaney indeed was a key yesterday as Severna Park (6-0-1) and Bishop O'Connell (7-0-3) of Arlington, Va., battled through regulation, two overtimes and a total of 100 minutes of soccer to a scoreless tie.

At the finish, Stefancik and O'Connell coach Alberto Starace were smiling. Both teams played well.

This is a rivalry that grew out of a meeting of the two coaches at a convention five years ago. O'Connell was a power in Virginia. Severna Park was a power in Anne Arundel County. Why not meet?

After scrimmages the first three years, O'Connell won last season. Both teams came into yesterday's game not only undefeated but highly rated.

Although No. 8 in The Baltimore Sun's poll, the Falcons are No. 2 in The Washington Post rankings behind O'Connell. In the national Umbro Girls High School Top 25, O'Connell is No. 12, Severna Park No. 23.

"This is why we play Severna Park, for a game like this," Starace said. "It's no fun winning 9-0."

O'Connell, which plays a 20-game schedule, will be at McDonogh tomorrow. This was the only out-of-county game the Falcons are allowed; they'll play North County Friday.

"There are just a few teams in our area who can test us," Starace said. "The rest are mediocre. We're competitive with Joyce's team, which is always in the top 10."

Severna Park dominated the first half, outshooting O'Connell, 11-3. The Falcons finished with a 14-5 advantage.

"For some reason, we were a little scared at first," Starace said. "They have a lot of speed, and they pressured and pressured us."

The few shots O'Connell was able to launch, Chaney stopped. Because Severna Park's defense is so strong -- two goals allowed in seven games -- Chaney had only six saves, but they were big ones.

"Shannon is a super athlete, the person I most want in the goal," Stefancik said.

Although Severna Park's record is now blemished by a tie, it doesn't disturb Stefancik, who led the Falcons last year to the state 3A-4A semifinals.

"This was our best game so far," she said. "I think now we can stay with anybody."

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