Severna Park's celebration was well under way when the question finally came about: Who scored the goal?
No one was quick to stake claim and it didn't seem to matter much. The No. 1-ranked Falcons have won 12 state titles and dominated thoroughly in Anne Arundel, but have never beaten No. 4 Roland Park in their brief, but highly regarded rivalry.
Junior forward Lily Jefferds was credited with the final touch in front of the crowded Roland Park cage, scoring with 3:26 left to provide the Falcons with a 2-1 win over the host Reds in the Sally E. Nyborg Invitational.
It's the first win over Roland Park (4-1) in four tries for the Falcons, who overcame a sluggish first half to score two unanswered goals in the second 30 minutes. Emily Swartz quickly got the Falcons (3-0) even with a goal from the right side four minutes after halftime.
"Every year we come up here, get all psyched up and it's always a close game, but they put one more in than us," said senior wing Nicki Barnes, the offensive spark who assisted on Jefferds' game-winner. "We always look to this game as our true marker on how we do. This year, it's a great feeling to finally accomplish it."
The Reds, with Kelsey Twist dominating the middle, established their game early. But it took until 10:10 was left in the first half to break through when Cassie Harvey redirected a shot from Twist on their fourth penalty corner.
Strong play in goal from Michelle Swartz, who finished with 12 saves, kept the Falcons close and they made the most of their opportunities in the second half.
"In the first half, when it was time to start playing, we didn't have our power going," said Barnes.
The Falcons got the game tied on a penalty corner with Emily Swartz scoring off a ball sent in by Beverly Burns. But back came the Reds, who had six straight penalty corners at one point and saw a blistering shot from Allison Higgins turned away by the right pad of Michelle Swartz with 5:45 left.
Jefferds, it turned out, had the final say.
"We had some good series and for them to come down the one time and score, that's a little disappointing," said Roland Park coach Debbie Bloodsworth.
Five games are slated for today in the six-team, two-day tournament, including Severna Park, Class 4A state champs, taking on Class 2A state champ Bethesda-Chevy Chase at 12:30 and Roland Park matching up against Marple Newtown (Pa.) in the finale at 3:15.