The Severna Park Falcons took firm hold of the county championship in the game's third minute yesterday and never let go, avenging their only loss of the season with a 2-0 victory against South River at Old Mill High in Millersville.
The No. 2 Falcons struck early and also late in the first half to take care of the offense. Dominating play at midfield, where they got to just about every ball first, and a tight marking defense led by senior Lindsey Nauman were the keys the rest of the way in shutting down the No. 5 Seahawks, who won the regular-season meeting, 2-1, on Sept. 24.
Severna Park goes into the Class 4A East Region playoffs with a 14-1 mark, looking to better its state runner-up finish of a year ago. The Seahawks are 12-2 as they begin chase for the Class 3A state crown.
Severna Park coach Chuck Seivert said a fast start was important yesterday and the Falcons got it when senior striker Holly Noga headed home a cross from junior Allison Dooley off a short corner. It was Noga's 15th goal of the season.
"We're big on trying to score as fast as you can. It's very important because you can stay on top of them, pressure them everywhere," said Seivert.
"We had a lot of incentive going in. When you lose a close game, you always have second thoughts on whether you did something wrong. Our kids knew we wanted this game really bad."
The Falcons continued to press throughout the first half and their reward came with under two minutes to play when sophomore Lauren Mitchell dribbled past a couple defenders inside the penalty area before placing a shot in the lower-right corner from 12 yards out for a 2-0 lead.
In the regular-season meeting, junior striker Lindsey Roche scored the game-winner with 12 minutes left for a 2-1 South River win. Yesterday, marked by Nauman most of the game, she was given little time or space with the ball.
"I think we were more prepared for this game," said Nauman. "The defense has really gelled and we're talking a lot more. When a team beats you, you always want to go out and beat them if you get the chance."
The Seahawks' best chance came just prior to Noga's opening goal when Kelli Hogan's chance in front was cleared off the goal line by Kristin Garrott.
At the start of the second half, Roche and senior Angie Beckett both sent dangerous crosses through, but there wasn't anyone at the other end as the Seahawks were never able to get that first goal to get them started.
"They came out and played harder than us. They stepped up on the 50-50 balls and won them," said South River first-year coach Tucker Schrumm. "If that first shot [from Hogan], would have went in, it may have changed things. The first goal has carried us a lot this season."
Last season, the Falcons captured the county championship with a 2-1 victory over South River on a second-half goal from Bre Benton.
No. 9 Hereford 2, Loch raven 1: Senior Jen Cox scored on a first-half penalty kick, and senior Paige Nichol added another goal in overtime as the visiting Bulls (10-1-2) defeated the Raiders to win the Baltimore County championship.
The victory avenges a 2-0 loss to Loch Raven (10-4-1) in last season's championship.
Cox gave Herford the lead with 19: 17 gone in the first half.
Loch Raven's Ashley Sudbrook notted the score at 1 on a line drive with 20: 51 gone in the first half.