Winning has yet to get old for Severna Park field hockey coach Lil Shelton, a good thing since her team continues to dominate.
The two-time defending state champion Falcons won their 19th regional title under Shelton yesterday by defeating Arundel, 2-0, for the Class 4A East crown.
It is a less experienced team that Shelton has guided to a 16-2 record and No. 2 ranking this season.
"This is a different bunch of girls," Shelton said. "We're a young team and they do everything we ask. I think they'll understand the importance [of trying to win a state championship]. We'll tell them about the excitement of being there."
Severna Park has a lot of history to measure up to. The Falcons have won 11 state championships during Shelton's career.
The tradition "gives us that extra push," said senior Erin Shaklee, who extended her all-time school scoring record with her 21st assist and 40th point of the year. "It gives us extra confidence in those close games. We don't want to be the team that breaks that tradition."
Wildcats goalie Natalie Marano didn't make it easy for the Falcons in the first half.
The Falcons outshot Arundel 14-2 and had a 7-2 edge in penalty corners but Marano made 10 saves. Despite the effort, she came up one save short. With 1: 34 remaining Nicki Barnes found Lynsey Bateman about a yard from the left corner of Marano's goal. Bateman not only scored the goal but also deflated the Wildcats hopes going into the halftime.
"That goal really hurt us," said Arundel coach Clint Gosnell, whose team finished 10-7. "It changed my halftime speech. Instead of me saying that we needed to keep it close and even try to play for overtime now we had to try to score. It affected my substitutions and the way we played in the second [half]."
Sophomore Lily Jefferds added the second goal for Severna Park off a pass from Shaklee with 13: 31 left in the game.
Severna Park's defender Jen Zink intercepted Arundel's best shot of the game from 3 yards out off a penalty corner and cleared the ball up field where Jefferds scored seconds later.
"Zink was outstanding today," Shelton said. "She came out on that corner and took [the ball away]. It started that other goal for us."