With a team that includes 15 seniors, many of whom played on the Falcons’ 2019 state championship squad, no one would be surprised if Severna Park boys lacrosse again led the pack in Anne Arundel County and made noise in the playoffs.
But wins are earned, not given based on track record. Through their first seven games of the 2021 season, resulting in seven wins, the Falcons have stayed focused and determined.
“I’d say the biggest reason for our success so far is because we are a driven team [whose players] have high expectations of each other,” said senior attacker Kyle Griffith. “Every day, each one of us comes to practice wanting to get better and working hard to do so, and it shows on gamedays. We also have a large senior class that has grown up playing together for years. With the shortened season, that familiarity and senior leadership has really helped the team get to where we are. The coaches have also done a great job of preparing us every day in practice for each game.”
Severna Park kicked off the season in style with a 13-5 win over Broadneck on May 7.
“The Broadneck game was great as it has a different level of intensity and it’s fun to compete against those guys,” Griffith said.
More wins followed: 18-4 over Chesapeake on May 11, 19-2 against Annapolis on May 14, 11-0 against Old Mill on May 19, 11-4 over South River on May 21, 17-2 over Southern on May 25 and 14-2 against Northeast on June 1.
Senior midfielder Kurt Klaus attributed the wins not only to hard work but also good communication.
“At every position, players are talking to one another about how to grow,” Klaus said. “We regularly give one another advice about who was open on what play or how the defense should've slid or any other little detail on how to improve. Then we implement what was said in the next play. This ability to communicate and take something away from our mistakes is what makes us a ‘dominant force.’”
The boys will play one more regular season game against Arundel, June 4, before playoff seeding is announced.
“In order to return to the state championship, I think as a team we need to be able to respond to adversity,” said senior defender Rory Sullivan. “Fortunately, we haven’t had to deal with adversity too much this year, but there will be a time when our backs are against the wall. I think as a team, we need to know how to respond in those situations and be prepared for when they occur.”
Sullivan agrees with Griffith’s assessment that the senior leadership will aid the Falcons during the intense playoff atmosphere.
“The identity of this team stems from guys like Kyle Griffith, Colin Shadowens and myself who have been on two state championship-winning teams,” Sullivan said. “We know what it takes to get there and it’s our job to show the younger guys in practice how to compete and work every day.
“Our greatest asset is, without a doubt, how close we are as a team. Everyone meshes extremely well, from the players to the entire coaching staff. This is easily one of the closest teams I’ve ever been on as far as how guys interact in and out of practice and how we prepare and push each other every day.”
Following the win over Southern, Griffith was also optimistic but humble when asked about his team’s championship prospects.
“Although we are 6-0, we are not where we want to be as a team right now, and with playoffs coming up, we are going to continue to work hard in practice and improve every day to accomplish our goal of winning a state championship,” Griffith said.
Klaus said, “States is always the end goal for any team and having already been there once drives me, even more, to get back there again. Not only would it be great for the seniors to go back and create a sort of 'full circle' to our careers, but also for the freshmen on the team (like Ganon Cope and Nolan Grizzle) so that they have something to work back toward the next year. There is nothing I would like more than to end my career on an exclamation point, and in the same breath, start someone else's off with one.”