During the moments following Severna Park's 15-7 girls lacrosse victory over Broadneck, Bruins coach Mary Hart had a difficult time putting her disappointment into words.
"We just didn't play as well as we're capable of playing -- from the opening draw," said Hart, whose Bruins (1-1) finished 13-2 last season and as runner-up to defending Class 4A state champion Severna Park.
"They just took us right out of the game from the first draw -- I've said it before, it's the Severna Park aura. We can't seem to get it out of our system long enough to play our game."
Over the rest of the season, Hart no doubt will have an equally difficult time keeping Severna Park's Hilary Kuker out of her mind.
Kuker, a senior who scored 25 goals last season, terrorized Broadneck keeper Paige Bowman (18 saves) for eight goals and an assist.
In all, the Falcons (2-0) peppered Bowman with 42 shots compared to just 13 for the Bruins to raise the Severna Park winning streak to 52 straight games.
The Falcons, led by Kuker, Holly Roessler (three goals), Lizzy Warfield (two), Stephanie Roberts and Erin Wylde, used their superior passing game to work the ball up the field and into position fortheir shots.
Tonya Simmons and Amy Carnaggio also scored in the second half to help the Falcons build their biggest lead, 12-3, with nine minutes remaining in the game.
Broadneck, led by Devere Keen, Michelle Meyer and Karen Chesley -- each with two goals -- scored four times in the closing moments, but the Falcons scored three more to pad the win.
Although the Bruins won six of the nine draws in the first half, they could manage only transient drives toward the Falcons' goal -- either dropping passes or having the ball checked from their sticks before launching an offensive.
"Our defense waited until the right moments and took the checks, and they were able to get it back (into the offense)," said Kuker of a defense anchored by Tina Riley and Tanya Simmons.
The Falcons had more than a 2-1 advantage in ground balls.
"We're a very young team, and at times I had three freshmen out there, but they managed to keep their poise and patience," said Severna Park coach Carin Peterson, whose Falcons won three straight Class 4A state-regional titles before winning last year's Class 4A/3A crown with a 15-0 record.
The Bruins, who were coming off of a 16-7 victory over Spalding, next face Chesapeake (April 5). The Falcons, who whipped Old Mill, 17-4, take on Spalding on April 3.
Kuker scored her team's first five goals, staking the Falcons to a 5-2 lead before teammate Warfield's goal with two seconds left in the half made it6-2.
Two of Kuker's scores came off of free-position attempts andthe others on maneuvers from behind the goal.
"It's called a crease roll, and I've never even used it in a game before," said Kuker, who fired the majority of her shots near the level of Bowman's knees. "The whole team's involved in (the play) because they have to isolateto get their men to the opposite side and get me open."
Keen had scored to bring her squad within 2-1 at 11:30 of the first period and Chesley (two goals) had made it 4-2 midway through the period, but that was as close as the Bruins would come the rest of the way.
If not for Bowman, who blocked nine first-half shots, the score could have been much worse.
"We had a lot of one-on-ones that she stuck uswith," said Peterson.