As is often true in soccer, a bounce here or there can be the difference between a win and a loss.
That was the case on September 17 in the Severna Park girls soccer team’s high-powered showdown with South River as the Seahawks broke a 1-1 tie in the second half and added another goal late to ultimately elbow the Falcons out of the way in a 3-1 win.
The Seahawks and Broadneck Bruins are the standard-bearers in the county — together the programs account for the last six 4A East region championships — so getting a shot against top competition is beneficial for the Falcons, even in defeat.
“The girls competed. You can’t ask for more on that end,” said head coach Brian Morgan. “A lot of solid play. I think it’s always good to play against teams that make you raise your level of play, your compete level, and that certainly happened tonight. Didn’t get the result we were looking for, but the girls are making positive strides, and these games are great to prepare us for later in the season.”
Bonus: the match delivered one of the season’s highlight-reel goals. After South River’s Sophia Michalski-Cooper opened the scoring in the first half, Severna Park’s Toni Fiocco-Mizer equalized with a long-distance blast that caught everyone in the stadium off guard. Fiocco-Mizer received a pass from her defense near midfield, turned up the field and sized up South River goalie Julia Cobb before thumping a 28-yard missile past a diving Cobb and into the lower left corner of the goal.
“I saw their back line was backing off, and in practice we try to encourage shooting it when their back line is backing off instead of trying to slip it through, and I heard a girl running behind me so I knew I had minimal time to shoot,” said Fiocco-Mizer. “I saw the open corner and ripped it. It felt good.”
South River’s Elizabeth Gleeson brought her side ahead 2-1 with a goal in the second half, and Severna Park pushed high for a late equalizer before getting caught on a counter-attack and surrendering a score, again to Gleeson.
Fiocco-Mizer sounded like a coach delivering pointed feedback on her team, coupling it with a confident outlook.
“We’ve got to learn from our mistakes,” she said. “We’ve got to learn to control the ball in the air, because we’re going to be matched up with some great teams like South River who are good in the air, who are aggressive. So we’ve got to match up, we’ve got to be aggressive, we’ve got to work on getting balls to feet and controlling.”
Not to go unmentioned is the fact that the South River loss is Severna Park’s only blemish: the Falcons are 7-1 through eight games. They followed the Seahawks with their first home game at the new stadium on September 20 and delivered a 6-0 win over Meade. Bella Espinoza became the first athlete to score a varsity soccer goal on the new stadium field, while Ella Raines scored two goals and Sam Cremmins, Leah Meyers and Lauren Campbell added goals in the win; Fiocco-Mizer, Campbell, Sofia Espinoza, Lauryn Vincent and Cremmins (2) had assists.
At home against Southern on September 25 the Falcons posted a 4-0 victory, getting goals from Campbell, freshman Joi Fleming, Bella Espinoza and Maddie Altman along with assists by Campbell, Fiocco-Mizer, Cremmins and Emily Knight. On September 27 the Falcons defeated Annpolis 3-0 behind goals from Altman (assist Campbell), defender Lena McLaughlin (who headed home a corner from Altman) and Chase Campbell, who scored on a free kick. Severna Park goalkeeper Katie Byrd added a save in the win.
With Broadneck coming to campus on October 4 as a near-term concern, Fiocco-Mizer didn’t miss a beat when asked if the Falcons could take down the Seahawks in any potential playoff rematch.
“Oh yeah,” she said. “We’re going to see them again, and we’re going to take them in the playoffs when we see them.”