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For Severna Park, stroll in park to final

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Nothing like a relaxing game to prep for a state championship.

That was essentially what Severna Park enjoyed yesterday as the No. 7-ranked Falcons pasted Walt Whitman, 24-3, in a Class 4A-3A state semifinal at Annapolis.

With the win, Severna Park improved to 16-3 and earned a right to defend the state championship the school claimed last season with a Wednesday showdown against Dulaney at 6 p.m. at UMBC.

After completing two straight overtime victories against 10th-ranked Broadneck and sixth-ranked Annapolis to emerge as the East Regional champion, the Falcons weren't too disappointed about yesterday's rout.

"This is kind of nice," said midfielder Kate Hickman. "It's good that we had this because it allowed us to work on some things we needed to work on."

Although Severna Park had walloped the Vikings of Montgomery County in the state semifinals last year, midfielder Kaitlin Hancock said the Falcons never overlooked their opponent.

"We kept up our intensity because we didn't know what to expect from them this time," she said.

What Severna Park quickly learned was that Whitman (14-2), the West Regional titlist, did not have the firepower to match the Falcons. After midfielder Sophie Larroque scored the game's first goal just 14 seconds in to give the Vikings a 1-0 lead, Severna Park notched six unanswered goals in a span of about four minutes.

After the teams traded a pair of goals, the Falcons reeled off seven straight goals and enjoyed a 15-3 lead at the half.

Severna Park capped the day by outscoring Whitman 9-0 in the second half.

"We just got outclassed," said Vikings coach Mary Pat Veihmeyer. "We don't get to play teams of this caliber. We're doing what we can with what we've got."

Goals: W -- Heller 2, Larroque; SP -- Hancock 5, Burke 3, Hickman 3, Boyd 2, Funk 2, Stover 2, Anderson, Barnes, Boyce, Kral, Puckett, Rausch, West. Assists: SP -- Barnes 2, Boyce, Burke, Hickman, Pumphrey, West. Saves: W -- Rubinfeld 14; SP -- Hill 1, Shinaberry 8. Half: SP, 15-3.

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