There may not have been a deluge from the heavy gray clouds in the sky, but Severn more than made up for it Monday afternoon.
Thanks to a first-half downpour that awarded them the advantage from start to finish, the Admirals closed their regular season with a 19-8 win over Saints Peter & Paul. After a trio of losses against top Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference teams, Severn rides a two-game winning streak into the playoffs, which begin Wednesday.
“Our team is stronger than we’ve ever been,” senior Sam Van Gieson said. “From our first game, we’ve come so far.”
Regulars like Bella Ingrao and Van Gieson scored four goals while Ryan Dineen and Casey Ulehla each had three, but five other Severn players registered goals on the scoresheet.
First-year coach Kathy Rudkin stressed to her team before the game that she had the same expectations for everyone, regardless of whether they started or not — a mentality Rudkin knows will put Severn lacrosse on the rise over the next seasons.
They certainly showed her they listened. Van Gieson watched her mostly-young team mesh together this year, become “best friends,” and completely buy in to the coach’s philosophies.
“Our culture is better than ever. We play ‘we ball’ instead of ‘me ball’ now,” said Van Gieson, a William & Mary commit. “ … I think a lot of teams in the conference don’t work like that, and I think it shows a huge part of our culture. I’m really proud of us.”
When Saints Peter & Paul hurried away with the first captured draw, it would be the last time the Sabres held any semblance of control over the game for a long while.
The Admirals spread the wealth across their attacks in the first 10 minutes, from the draw circle to the net. Four different Severn players struck the cage over the first part of the half, led by Van Gieson, who netted a pair on either side of a Sabres timeout.
Saints Peter & Paul’s chances came few and far in between, but when they did, turnovers quickly reversed its fortune.
But for a few moments, Saints Peter & Paul hit their stride. Freshman attack Morgan Quade seemed to be single-handedly getting the Sabres back on the game as she potted three consecutive goals.
Before long, as Sabres Caroline McKelvy and Darby Thomas struck the net, Severn’s once-smothering lead diminished to just four goals.
Van Gieson said the Admirals tend to lose focus, but are always capable of bringing it back. So, that’s what they did.
“We got a little complacent,” Rudkin said. “We started making silly mistakes and it all comes down to mental mistakes. I had to call a timeout to get the girls to refocus and I was proud of them because they did.”
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Severn had the last laugh of the half, as Ingrao raced towards the goal, pedaling through several Saints Peter & Paul defenders to net her second goal and hand the Admirals a 10-5 advantage at the break.
Whatever control Saints Peter & Paul reclaimed towards the end of the first half evaporated to open the second.
Ingrao and Gieson each got their third goals as the Admirals (5-8 overall, 4-8 IAAM A) poured in the first four tallies of the latter frame and sped towards a running clock with a 14-5 lead.
The Sabres staved off that fate with a pair of goals, but not for long. Severn roared back in response as Van Gieson scored her fourth, Dineen her third, to get the running clock to resume en route to Severn’s second straight win.
Rudkin doesn’t consider Wednesday’s first-round game an upset situation. She knows her Admirals have shown they can hang with the best of them, having beaten tough teams in Maryvale Prep and kept pace with McDonogh.
“At this point in the season, the girls should have confidence in themselves. I know they do,” Rudkin said. “At this point in the season, we have all the tools we need, we’ve developed the way that we are. We just have to play well. … Girls just have to show up.”