Severna Park junior Madison Thomas seemed almost to be dancing, as she weaved down the field in the 27th minute of the first half of the Falcons' Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association's Class 4A state semifinal match against No. 13 Dulaney on Monday night..
Dulaney's Lions had held their ground and played tough for the first 15 minutes, but then Thomas had broken through, and with the Falcons now leading by three goals, No. 3 Severna Park was well on its way to a 5-0 victory and a 24th appearance in the state championship finals.
As Thomas charged down the field, she and her teammates were playing with abandon.
With the ball at the end of her stick, Thomas shifted to her left to avoid the first defender around the 30-yard line and then juked right 10 yards later to miss the second. On she went toward the goal, where one-on-one, she leaned far to the right and swept the ball past Dulaney's Olivia Cawley (8 saves), for a 4-0 lead.
"You have so much anxiety in a game like this," Thomas said. "I just wanted to do my best and shoot. All the adrenalin was kicking in. And right now, knowing we're going back to the state finals, there is no feeling like this. It's so exciting just to get here, and now to actually have made it to the finals. Oh my gosh!"
Four-time defending champion Severna Park will face No. 1 and undefeated Westminster, 18-0 and a 4-0 winner in its semifinal against Paint Branch, Saturday at Washington College. Severna Park (15-2) will be looking for a record 19th state title.
Severna Park used its speed and great stick work to stymie Dulaney's offensive effort and to wear down Lions defenders Alex Handzo, Torie Kennelly and McKena Bolonda, who challenged every pass the Falcons made.
"They have a lot of depth, and they use it with constant and frequent substitutions," said Dulaney coach Kendra Whaley. "We know that it would be a tough game both mentally and physically. We played South River early in the season to get a taste of what we were in for. We've been preparing, but they're a very tough team."
No.3 Severna Park 5, No. 13 Dulaney 0
Goals: SP -- Thomas (2), Anspach (2), Pohlmeyer. Assists: SP -- Thomas (2), Miller, Ballard. Saves: SP -- Daliserea, Dixon (1), Colletti. D -- Cawley (8), Schaeffler (3). Half: SP 4-0.
No. 1 Westminster 4, Paint Branch 0
G: W -- N. Hodiak, Macera (3). A: W -- Nichols, N. Hodiak, Solomon. S: W -- Colliflower (1). PB -- Depperman (14). H: W -- 3-0.