In team sports, passing and scoring is largely about utilizing angles and math. On Tuesday, Severna Park’s field hockey applied those principles to lethal effect.
Utilizing the numerical advantage of attacking corners to set up passing angles and redirected shots, the Falcons scored on three corner routines to pace themselves to a 4-2 victory over South River, winning the 3A East Region I championship.
South River opened the scoring 39 seconds in, but instead of wilting, the Falcons refocused and tied the match up less than four minutes later. After that, Severna Park built their lead and controlled proceedings to the finish.
“I’m proud of them for letting that go,” said Severna Park coach Shannon Garden. “I don’t think anyone’s ever scored on us that fast, but they let it roll off their backs and kept going.”
Severna Park scored the four next goals, three of them on corners and the fourth on a turnover.
Kelsey Rowe, Sydney Day, Hannah Pope and Noel Stefancik netted for Severna Park.
“We knew it was going to be a fight from the beginning, but we just had to push it out of our heads and know that if they did it, we could do it too,” said Severna Park defender Emma Weber, who had two shot blocks and an assist.
From there, it was a matter of managing the game — especially as South River took two late penalties, including a five-minute sanction, allowing Severna Park to play for nearly seven minutes with a numerical advantage.
South River scored on a corner of their own and had another goal ruled out for a shooting violation, but the fact Severna Park had built a three-goal lead allowed the Falcons to calmly see the rest of the game out.
“We’re a pretty composed team, but when it’s closer we tend to stress out, so when we got that separation, we were able to communicate, structure how we wanted to play, and go from there,” said Severna Park midfielder Ava Zimmerman, who had two assists and helped orchestrate the corner offense. “We were focusing on possession passing, and if we had the chance to take it up, we were going to. But it was finding space, keeping possession, and if we had an opportunity we’d take it.”
The win netted the Falcons the region title and a record-extending 35th trip to the state quarterfinals. They will resume the chase for a record-extending 26th state championship as road warrior. Severna Park is the sixth seed for the quarterfinals and will play at Oakdale on Thursday. With the semifinals and finals being at neutral venues, the Falcons have played their last home game of the season.
Despite that, they hope to lean on a rigorous schedule against a loaded stable of Anne Arundel County teams to give them an edge in experience.
“There are (3A) teams across the state that we’re worried about,” Garden said, referring to the quality headed to the state round of the playoffs. “But top to bottom, we play the hardest schedule in this county. You just don’t get easy games.”
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here