Ashley Dalisera had never been more nervous in her life.
When last night's Class 4A East regional field hockey championship went to a shootout, Severna Park's sophomore goaltender faced more pressure than she had all season, but Dalisera also had a lot of confidence - in herself and in her teammates.
That confidence was rewarded. Dalisera made two saves in the shootout, and veterans Julie Gardner, Allison Behringer and Kaylee Pohlmeyer converted their penalty strokes to give the No. 5 Falcons a 3-2 shootout victory over No. 2 South River that broke a 1-1 tie through overtime.
"I was just thinking how I had to stop them," Dalisera said, "but I knew my team would get theirs in, and they just followed through for me. I did feel a lot of pressure, but I knew I had to focus."
Dalisera made eight saves before the shootout, including six early on when South River (16-2) had seven shots before the Falcons (14-3) put one on goal.
The teams traded goals late in the second half. Gardner gave the Falcons a lead, but Kellie Dress tied it less than two minutes later for South River.
South River goalie Virginia Jorden made five of her six saves in overtime, including two in the second 10-minute, seven-on-seven period that the Falcons dominated.
In the shootout, Dalisera saved the first shot, a slow dribbler from Shannon Denno. Gardner and Behringer traded goals with South River's Hope Battista and Brooke Griffin. Each goalie had a save before Pohlmeyer hit the high left corner. The Seahawks' Casey Disharoon then sent her shot toward the upper left wide, leaving the Falcons with a 3-2 edge.
"I really think us and Severna Park are two great field hockey teams," said South River coach Katie Corcoran, whose team went unbeaten during the regular season. "We took it as far as we could go. Both teams fought very hard, because both teams know what it takes to win."
In winning their 25th regional title, the Falcons, last year's state Class 3A champs, ended South River's four-year run in the state tournament and will go after their 17th state crown when they meet No. 7 Westminster in Wednesday's semifinal at South River.
"We lost three games [this season], and that's never happened to us before," Behringer said, "so we don't want to be the team that everybody looks back at and says: 'What was wrong with them?' Just through regionals, we proved that we really are the best team in this region and, hopefully, in the state."
No. 3 Garrison Forest 1, Severn 0 -- Cati Merrick scored the lone goal for the Grizzlies (16-2-1) as they defeated the Sailors in an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference semifinal. "It is hockey, and we had the game at their end for a good portion of the game. Severn had some good fast breaks, but we were able to hold them off," Garrison Forest coach Traci Davis said. "We were able to get that one goal, and one is all we needed today."
Archbishop Spalding 1, No. 4 Bryn Mawr 0 -- In the other IAAM A Conference semifinal, Abby Lynch scored the winning goal for the Cavaliers with 1:41 left in the game. Abby Bisbee had three saves for the Mawrtians, and Ciarra Delost blocked five shots for Spalding.
Century 2, Middletown 0 -- Kristen Resutek had a goal and a save to lead Century over Middletown in the 2A West regional championship. Jenny Gilbert posted 10 saves for Century. "Jenny Gilbert had an awesome game," Century coach Gayle Taylor said. "My whole defense really played great." Megan Quigg added a goal and Jill Remenapp had an assist for Century. The Knights will meet Patuxent on Monday at South River at 7 p.m.
McDonogh 1, Friends 0 -- Alissa Polina scored the only goal of the game in the first half to lead the Eagles (14-1-1) over the Quakers in an IAAM B Conference semifinal. "It was a great overall team effort," McDonogh coach Halyna Fried said. "Friends made it a very tough game, and they fought hard to the end." Clara Chaisson had 12 saves for Friends. McDonogh will play at 1 p.m. Sunday in the conference championship at Bryn Mawr.
No. 11 Centennial 2, Atholton 0 -- In her 31st and final season, coach Gail Purcell recorded her 300th win as Centennial prevailed in the Class 3A East final.
Patuxent 1, Mount Hebron 0 -- Jessica Lankford scored the game's only goal as she led the undefeated Panthers to a victory over the Vikings (11-5) in the 2A South region championship. Hebron coach Jeannette Ireland said: "We did everything but score. We outplayed them, outshot them and outcornered them. They had a couple opportunities, and they capitalized. We didn't."firstname.lastname@example.org
Sun reporters contributed to this article.