It took nearly 35 minutes, but the Severna Park offense did get on track - and just in time to lead the Falcons' girls lacrosse team to its second straight state title.
Kate Hickman broke a 5-5 tie with a goal at the 5:04 mark, and senior Kristen Burke scored a minute later as the Falcons earned the Class 4A-3A state championship with a 7-6 victory over Dulaney last night at UMBC Stadium.
"It means a lot," Falcons coach Carin Peterson said. "I don't think anyone thought we'd be here after the players that we lost last year."
Said Burke, who is bound for Penn State: "This was our biggest goal all season, and we knew it would be harder to get it the second time."
The Falcons (17-3) traveled a difficult route to get their sixth state title overall. After racking up 24 goals in their semifinal victory over Walt Whitman, the Falcons struggled against a deliberate Lions team. But the Falcons finally broke through with Hickman and Burke, who scored back-to-back goals to give the East regional champion a two-goal lead.
Even then, Dulaney (12-4) showed no signs of quit. Even without Lauren Wittelsberger (68 goals this season) and midfielder Lindsay White, both suspended for disciplinary reasons, others stepped in to challenge Severna Park. Senior defender Kathryn Kozlakowski scored her second goal with 53 seconds left, bouncing a shot off the inside post, to reduce the Falcons' lead to 7-6.
The Lions got the ball back, and junior Kaitlin Leland's shot sailed just over the crossbar. Dulaney's last effort was halted when junior Julia Hughey (two goals) ran into senior Lindsey Stover and was called for a charge.
"It was good defense," Peterson said. "She stood her ground. It takes a lot of guts for an official to make that call."
Stover tied the score at 4, less than a minute and half in the second period. Hughey and Hickman then traded goals before the Falcons scored two straight to take their first two-goal lead.
Dulaney's deliberate offense kept possession for much of the first half. When the Falcons did get the ball, junior goalie Oliva King was usually up to the task, making three first-half saves. On two occasions, King stopped Burke, the Falcons' leading goal scorer, at point-blank range. "She was stopping them high, so I knew I had to change it up and shoot low," Burke said.
Goals: D - Mulaney 2, Hughey 2, Kozlakowski 2; SP -Barnes 2, Hickman 2, Stover, Burke, Boyd. Assists: SP - Anderson, Boyd. Saves: D - King 6; SP - Hill 4. Half: D, 4-3.