Assistant coach Chuck Seivert said it was the magic potion he rubbed on the hands of all the Severna Park players and coaches before the game.
Lindsey Poland said it was the tough, double-overtime loss to Old Mill last Tuesday night in the Anne Arundel County championship game.
Whatever the reason, third-ranked Severna Park was an extremely focused and aggressive team yesterday and won Round III, 1-0, of a series of showdowns with No. 11 Old Mill.
Round III was played for the right to advance to the quarterfinals of the Class 3A-4A East Regional tournament against unbeaten James M. Bennett (13-0).
Severna Park had won the regular-season meeting, 2-1, before losing the county title game, 1-0, Tuesday night when Carina Sonberg scored on a breakaway with 23 seconds left in the second overtime.
The Falcons (12-1-1) are tentatively scheduled to meet Bennett Tuesday at 5 p.m. in Salisbury.
Poland, a senior halfback, scored the winning goal on a header off a cross from sophomore fullback Carol Prickett on a re-start just outside the left side of the box with 9:30 left in the game.
Poland broke free right in front of the goal and sent the ball over goalkeeper Kelly Mack's head into the net.
"When the ball went in, I just thought 'We won,' " said Poland, who threatened to score all day. "I had to score. I didn't want to go into overtime. We needed that loss to Old Mill Tuesday to wake us up."
After the sudden strike by Poland for a 1-0 lead, Old Mill (10-3-1) was a deflated team and never got off another shot.
On Friday night, Poland just missed scoring on a header 20 seconds before the game was halted due to lightning and thunder with five minutes left in the first half.
The game subsequently was suspended until 4 p.m. yesterday because of a tornado watch. Play was re-started yesterday where it stopped Friday night.
Severna Park goalkeeper Shannon Chaney recorded the 45th shutout of her career yesterday. She had a lot of help from defenders Susan Stanke, Jill Harrison and Jess Miller.
Old Mill coach Bruce Sponsler said, "My kids played great all year and battled a super team like Severna Park tough all this week. Sure, it's disappointing but life is full of disappointment."
And what about Seivert's magic potion? "I can't tell you what it is. It's a secret and I only use it for big games," he said.
Severna Park coach Joyce Stefancik smiled and said of the potion: "I know it has flakes in it and it worked."