With a second-half game plan that was equal parts accurate shooting and firm defense, No. 4 Westminster defeated No. 3 Severna Park , 4-1, in the Class 4A state semifinals at Franklin on Wednesday.
The victory sends the Owls (18-0) to the state championship Saturday at Washington College, where they will face Dulaney, which shut out Magruder in the other semifinal, 7-0.
Junior Meghan Macera scored twice for Westminster, and senior goalie Emily Colliflower made eight saves to complete the Owls' well-balanced effort.
The teams traded goals in the first half, beginning when Westminster senior attacker Ashton Maseth scored off a pass from senior midfielder Jordan Wilkins at 10:28. The Falcons (16-2-1) answered with less than a minute remaining in the half on a goal by junior midfielder Hannah Miller that squirted through a block of Westminster defenders and tied the game entering halftime.
Westminster is "a tough team with good stickwork, good skill. They had good positioning on the field," Severna Park coach Lillian Shelton said. "We matched them in the first half, and I guess they just got tired of having the balls hit so hard at them."
The Owls came out firing in the second, taking the lead on a goal by senior attacker Amanda Irving 1:54 into the half. Macera scored the final two goals for Westminster; her second came on a rebound off the pad of Severna Park senior goalie Cait Coletti that Macera corralled and poked into the goal with less than five minutes remaining.
"She's had an amazing season," Westminster coach Mary Rivera said of Macera, who leads Westminster with 23 goals. "She scores pretty much every game."
Westminster's win was solidified by strong defensive work and athletic saves by Colliflower, who thwarted a Severna Park scoring attempt midway through the second half when she made an athletic save on a quick shot that pushed the ball wide of the goal. The Falcons tried to pressure Colliflower with a bevy of attackers deep inside the circle as the contest neared its conclusion, but the senior goalie stopped each shot to give the Owls complete control over the final few minutes.
"It was definitely an all-around effort," Macera said. "Our defense was working really well and was getting [the ball] out every time. It's just nice to finally be able to beat them and move on."