Severna Park playmaker Meg Miller took on the rare role of finisher in the first half of last night's Anne Arundel County championship game against South River.
In the second half, she returned to more familiar territory in assisting the No. 4 Falcons to a 2-1 win over No. 11 South River in Edgewater.
Miller found Bre Benton in front for the game-winner with 30 minutes left and the Falcons' defense was once again up to the task as South River pressed and pressed, but couldn't find the equalizer.
For the second time in six days, Severna Park (14-1) got the best of a talented South River group.
After his team's 2-0 loss to Severna Park in the regular-season finale Thursday, Seahawks coach Joseph Acqui called the Falcons "very, very lucky." But after last night, he was quick to give them credit.
"This time I'll say the best team won. [Severna Park] played hard and they wanted it," he said. "They gave the effort, they were constantly running. I believe both teams are on the same level."
Miller certainly found a higher level when she blasted a shot from 25 yards out that South River goalie Erin Johnson (10 saves) never had a chance on.
The strong finish, coming from a short square pass from Meredith McAlister off an indirect kick, was Miller's first goal of the season and certainly one to remember.
"I've been practicing all season on it. I thought it was going to go over and then it dipped down," she said.
South River senior Jess Duvall tied the game three minutes into the second half, heading a long ball from Nichoal Zamarripa over Severna Park goalie Kerry York.
Miller, Benton and then the Severna Park defense took over from there.
The Falcons answered Duvall's goal seven minutes later when Miller sent an indirect kick to the far post for Benton, who found space and finished with a low shot to the opposite post for the 2-1 lead.
"I saw Bre kind of open. I thought I'd loft it over and see what happens. She ended up being at the right place at the right time," Miller said.
"We were really fired up and they played a really good game. We're just doing real well as a team and everyone is contributing."
South River (11-3) had three corner kicks and a number of other opportunities in a bid to tie. Nancy Tucker, Lindsey Roche and Zamarripa led the attack, but York was able to turn everything back as the Falcons won their 14th straight after an opening loss.
Now, the two teams will take separate paths in the playoffs -- Severna Park chasing after a state title in Class 4A, and South River, which has shared the previous two 3A-2A state crowns, aiming for a Class 2A crown.
Both will go well-prepared.
Pub Date: 10/28/98