UPPER MARLBORO — The Severna Park girls soccer team didn’t surrender a playoff goal until midway through the second half of Saturday’s Class 4A state semifinal against Walt Whitman.
Unfortunately for the No. 5 Falcons, it was enough to end their season.
In a tightly contested game that had few scoring chances, the Vikings from Montgomery County had its only offensive breakthrough.
Sophomore forward Morgan Riso scored it, heading home a rebound after Matilda MacKay fired a shot off the crossbar.
The goal came with 20:44 left and the Vikings held their ground for a 1-0 win over the Falcons at Henry A. Wise High School.
Whitman will meet No. 9 Perry Hall – a 10-0 winner over Eleanor Roosevelt in Saturday’s earlier semifinals – for the state crown next week at Loyola Maryland’s Ridley Athletic Complex.
The Falcons, who claimed the Anne Arundel County championship and then fended off defending 4A champ Broadneck to win the East region, end their season with a 17-2 mark.
“The girls battled like they’ve done all year – a little unlucky on the one goal but those things happen and credit to them,” Severna Park coach Brian Morgan said. “We fought all game and it was just one of those things where they ended up with one more.”
Severna Park, which was making its 15th state tournament appearance in a bid to add to the program’s six titles, came in on a 13-game winning streak with five straight shutouts.
Much like their other big games, most notably wins over No. 11 South River for the Anne Arundel County championship and defending state champion Broadneck for the East region, the Falcons relied on their tidy defense to pull them through with both of those games decided on penalty kicks after scoreless play.
On Saturday, it appeared they were on the same path with both defenses not budging.Goalie Katie Byrd and senior center Kiersten Crowley stood out on defense again for Severna Park.
Hungry anticipation from Riso right in front proved the difference. The rest of the game, the Vikings protected the lead with poise as the Falcons were unable to get any considerable pressure in a bid to tie.
“I think we could have released some of our wingers who were making runs across the field. I think that area was something that we were tryign to do all season.We talked about it and I think there were opportunities that we could have put them under a little more pressure in that respect,” Morgan said.
Class 4A East
(at Henry A. Wise High School)
Walt Whitman 1, 5 Severna Park 0
Goals: WW — Riso. Assists: WW -- MacKay. Saves: WW – Stender-Moore 2; SP – Byrd 2. Half: 0-0