Severna Park varsity field hockey head coach Shannon Garden believes she has a deep, well-conditioned, talented squad this year and she is preparing them to challenge for the state championship once again.
“I believe we are deeper than ever before,” Garden said. “We’re two-deep at every position and that should make a difference during the regular season and the playoffs.”
It made a difference in the Falcons’ season-opening win as they stunned highly ranked Garrison Forest 2-1 in double-overtime.
Leading up to that win, Garden has been implementing an intense conditioning regimen. At an August practice, the players had conditioning tests by running 880s (two times around the track) with a 90-second break between runs. The players are timed and have to reach a certain mark to be eligible to play in games.
“We are very dedicated to our conditioning and to prove that we are here running 880s in 90-degree heat,” said senior captain Emma Marsh, who plans to attend Washington and Lee University in Virginia on a lacrosse scholarship in 2022.
Marsh is one of 13 seniors on the squad, which features many players from the Falcons’ 4A state championship in 2019.
“We have outstanding team chemistry as many of us have played together since we were 5 or 6 years old,” said junior goalkeeper Charlotte Kramer, who accepted a scholarship from Boston College.
Garden knows that she has a gauntlet of a schedule this year as she faces Arundel, Broadneck, South River and Crofton. The new high school has a good feeder program from that area, so they may surprise teams this year.
“Hopefully our team speed and conditioning will be an advantage in these games,” Garden said. “We want to beat the other team to the 50-50 balls and be faster than the other team in advancing the ball.”
Zoe Day, a senior captain, and junior Ava Drexler echoed Garden’s optimism by recounting all of the team’s informal workouts and Zoom meetings during the pandemic. Both the meetings and workouts made the team closer and better prepared for the season.
New athletic director Dave Kauffman attended summer practices and was impressed by Garden and her assistant coaches.
“Shannon does an outstanding job, and all the players know where to go when drills are changed and what is expected of them,” he said.
Kauffman acknowledges that the Falcons have a successful feeder program with the Green Hornets and are fundamentally strong before they enroll in high school.
Garden credited her two valuable assistant coaches, Kelly Shanahan and Ben Pardew, who instruct during every drill and focus on daily improvement.
Garden and the team captains all remarked that they can’t overlook anyone on their schedule and look forward to playing Arundel, the only team they lost to in a shortened season last year.
“I’m excited about this year, and what I love about coaching at Severna Park is that these players are good kids,” Garden said. “They are very dedicated to their teammates and their schoolwork.”
The Severna Park field hockey team has won 24 state championships. Garden and her dedicated, conditioned and athletic 2021 team will try to bring home another state championship this fall.
Severna Park is scheduled to host Chesapeake on September 9 at 6:00pm. They will head to Arundel for that highly anticipated match on September 13 at 6:00pm.