The green goalie's cap bearing the word "unbeatable" was not something Severna Park coach Joyce Stefancik expected to be wearing at the end of this season.
But the cap, presented by goalkeeper Tami Riley, was firmly in place after Severna Park ended its season the way it had begun, with a hard-earned, 2-1 victory over Oakland Mills.
Saturday's win gave the Falcons their third straight state 3A-4A title and kept them unbeaten (46-0-1) since losing the 1987 Region IV final to eventual state champion Old Mill.
Severna Park has won 40 straight since a 1-1 tie with Northeast-Anne Arundel on Oct. 11, 1988.
This year's team was thought to be vulnerable, but went 16-0, and Stefancik is The Sun's Coach of the Year.
"In August, I never thought we could win again after losing that talent," said Stefancik, who had lost three first-team All-Metro picks and two All-Anne Arundel County choices to graduation.
However, Stefancik "did the best thing I've ever done in soccer" by recruiting Severna Park alumna Colleen Corwell to replace assistant coach Wayne Sanchez, who had taken the top job at Archbishop Spalding.
"Let's face it, I've played street ball but not soccer like Colleen's [at William & Mary]," Stefancik said. "She has phenomenal knowledge for someone her age."
"I'm a firm believer in surrounding yourself with good people and in managing the kids well. They will produce."
Stefancik shored up holes by shifting players as the situation dictated, and also did her homework.
After Oakland Mills scored first to put the Falcons behind for the first time in 40 games, a Stefancik-designed sequence produced the nearly immediate equalizer. Emily Vandergrift took a through-ball from Stephanie Roberts and beat Scorpions goalie Jenny Golding one-on-one.
Two minutes later, Betsy Anderson's pass put Michelle Cope in nearly the same situation for the game-winner.
"Before the game, I'd visualized that whole sequence. We had scouted them well and knew their team better than they knew ours," Stefancik said. "We knew there was that weakness in their defense."
The win boosted Stefancik to 121-28-3 in her 11-year career. And although "we certainly won't have this kind of team again," she TTC plans to continue "until it's no longer fun, until it becomes a chore."
"The enjoyment you get from the kids just makes you want to stay," Stefancik said.