The Severna Park tennis team, one of the more storied programs in Anne Arundel County, has never really lacked the confidence that comes from winning three straight county and regional tournaments.
But certain matches can put that confidence to the test, and yesterday the Falcons persevered, thwarting an upset bid from visiting Broadneck, 7-2.
In a matchup of unbeatens, the Falcons emerged as the only team in the county with a 9-0 record and moved one step closer to grabbing their third regular-season championship in four seasons.
"For a lot of people, this was a big match," said Severna Park senior Susan Johnson. "It proves to us that we're the team to beat. I think this puts us in a great position for the [county tournament]."
Severna Park has two more matches this week, against defending regular-season champion Arundel and Northeast -- both of which had sub-.500 records before yesterday -- but appear to be in line to erase last year's surprising loss to the Wildcats.
"It's nice to finally come out victorious," said Falcons coach April Quigley. "It gives us a lot of confidence, knowing that we can play a very good team and hold them."
The Bruins (8-1) entered yesterday's matches with a different strategy: Stack the stronger players in the doubles positions and hope for a sweep of the five doubles matches and a 5-4 win.
But the plan backfired when Severna Park's No. 1 girls doubles team of senior Lindsay Suller and sophomore Allison Daciek knocked off seniors Kristen Kibler and Holly Schaefer, 6-2, 6-2.
Suller -- one-half of last year's state champion team (Jamie deGraffenreid moved to Florida during the off-season) -- said the key was neutralizing wind gusts up to 20 mph against Kibler and Schaefer, who lost to Suller and deGraffenreid in the state final.
"We wanted to get to the net as fast as possible," Suller said. "We didn't want to try the lob the ball for points."
The Falcons also earned doubles wins from seniors Lindsay Kin and Judy Umberger at No. 2 girls and from freshmen Matt Bulkley and Connor Chalmers at No. 2 boys doubles.
Broadneck's two victories did come in doubles. The mixed pair of seniors Liz McNichols and Pat Flavin stopped sophomore Kara Danneberger and junior Ryan Schell, 6-0, 7-6 (1), and the No. 1 boys tandem of senior Todd Basile and junior Blake Foster defeated seniors Bryan Dickinson and Steve Wollentin, 6-3, 7-6 (9).
Severna Park swept all four singles matches as senior Philip Klarsten at No. 1 boys, junior Matt Graves at No. 2 boys, Johnson at No. 1 girls and senior Robin Koethcke at No. 2 girls lodged straight-set victories.