Severna Park earns shot at 4th straight state title No. 1 Falcons handle Chesapeake in semifinal


A walk in the park. Just another day at the office. Kind of routine.

That seemed to be the attitude surrounding the top-ranked and unbeaten Severna Park team yesterday after another workmanlike performance produced another victory, a 4-0 decision over Anne Arundel County rival Chesapeake in a state Class 4A semifinal at Goucher College.

But wait a minute. This is heavy stuff.

Fifty-three straight victories is impressive no matter what the game is.

And one victory away from an unprecedented fourth straight state 4A championship and state record nine titles overall in 21 years isn't anything to be taken lightly.

But still there were no wild celebrations for the Falcons (17-0) as they continue to make field hockey history in the state.

None of the Falcons rolled on the ground in glee like the Walt Whitman players did on the adjoining field after they had knocked off Westminster, 2-0, in the other 4A semifinal game.

The Whitman players had good reason to celebrate loudly because this is the school's first appearance in the state tournament.

Severna Park has been to the final four party 15 times, also a state record and one more than Francis Scott Key.

So, the Falcons came here yesterday expecting to win again and they did just that.

They also put an end to any talk that unranked Chesapeake (11-6) should be considered in the same class with Severna Park, beating the Cougars for the third time this season.

Severna Park won handily even though high-scoring junior forward Amy Noble (19 goals, eight assists) was limited to just one assist.

Noble usually dominates in the center of the field but yesterday the Falcons were striking from the wings, with seniors Sarah Horn and Athena Mahoney each scoring two goals.

"It might not have shown but we were psyched for Chesapeake and kept pushing the ball up," said Horn. "Playing Chesapeake in the states was big for us."

Said Mahoney: "We wanted to score early and once we got that first goal in, it lifted our spirits."

Mahoney and Horn were on top of their game, moving down the field quickly for repeated strikes at the goal.

Mahoney began the scoring with 7:14 left in the first half when she tapped in the rebound of a shot by Noble.

Then Horn struck with just 15 seconds left in the half on a shovel shot amid a crowd of players in front of the net. Jen Barth had the assist on the late first-half goal for a 2-0 lead.

The second half was virtually a carbon copy of the first with Mahoney and then Horn scoring again to run the lead to 4-0 with 23:42 remaining in the game.

Melissa Reynolds, who also played a superb defensive game, and Lauren Hancock had assists in the second half.

Severna Park came close twice to scoring a fifth goal with Kristin Crawford and Kristen Hancock just missing by inches.

Chesapeake tried desperately to salvage some pride down the stretch in the second half but the Cougars were never able to challenge Severna Park goalie Laura Snider.

Snider had only one save all day and that was a kick save off a shot by Kristen Bonk with five minutes left in the game.

And what about the subdued reaction to winning 53 in a row and the state semifinals.

"This is the way I like it," said Severna Park head coach Lil Shelton. "If we go around saying we've won 53 straight and stuff like that, we might lose focus."

So the celebration will be limited to the usual routine for the Falcons except for the players wearing corsages all day today in school.

VTC There will be a team breakfast today and a team dinner tonight.

Then will come a date with Walt Whitman for the state 4A championship tomorrow morning at 11:30 at Goucher College.

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