In a good early-season barometer for several top area girls soccer teams, No. 13 Severna Park didn't particularly stand out at yesterday's North Carroll Panthers tournament.
All the Falcons did, however, was win.
After needing double overtime to dispose of the host Panthers in the opening round, Severna Park was forced into a defensive posture for much of the championship game against No. 7 John Carroll, but used a second-half corner kick to take the lead in a 2-1 win over the two-time defending champion.
"I think we won the second half," said Severna Park assistant coach John Brady, who led the team after head coach Gary Lam received his second yellow card 17 minutes into the game for arguing with the referees. "In the first half, our midfielders weren't winning balls. In the second half, they started winning those balls and giving us opportunities."
Despite getting outshot, 15-10, Severna Park (4-0) took the lead for good early in the second half.
Tied at 1 with 34:30 left, the Falcons' Katie White sent a high-arcing corner in front of the goal, and Ashley Dugan headed it past keeper Andrea Gaeta and into the far corner
"I just lined up on the back post," Dugan said. "They left the whole area in front of me open, so I was able to run on in."
The goal spoiled an otherwise impressive day for John Carroll (1-3-1), which scored a 2-0 shutout over No. 14 Glenelg in its opener.
"This really could've gone either way," John Carroll coach Gary Lynch said. "I thought that Severna Park played a really good game, but we played hard."
The Patriots dominated the early minutes. They took a 1-0 lead when, after a restart, Krissy Zerhusen sent a crossing pass out of the corner and across the goal mouth, where teammate Amy Graul finished 6:22 in.
Severna Park tied it on Katie White's penalty kick 23:17 before halftime
Though the Patriots had a handful of other opportunities, they failed to cash in. For Lynch, however, the day was about a chance to face tough competition before heading into the meat of the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference schedule.
"Our league is pretty tough, so we've got to play as many ranked teams as we can," Lynch said. "Coming here is always a good kickoff into our league schedule."
In the consolation, Glenelg (2-1-1) settled for a 1-1 tie against North Carroll. The Gladiators were outscored 3-1 for the day, giving up a penalty-kick goal in each game, much to the dismay of coach Mike Williams.
"I feel bad for my girls because both penalty kicks, as far as I'm concerned, were extremely questionable," Williams said. "But we had our chances. We took 43 shots today and scored one goal."
North Carroll (0-1-2) dropped its first-round game to Severna Park just over a minute into a seven-on-seven double-overtime period.