Tina Riley and Sonya Muhly led a clinic in defensive lacrosse as Severna Park shut down Chesapeake-Anne Arundel, one of the state's highest-scoring teams, en route to a 9-5 victory and the girls state 3A-4A championship yesterday at Catonsville Community College.
Fifth-seeded Severna Park (14-1) jumped out to leads of 3-0 and 5-2, and was never really threatened in winning its fifth straight state title. The Falcons also won for the seventh time in their record eight straight appearances in the championship game, and for the eighth time in 11 seasons since taking up the sport in 1981.
This one was the most rewarding, said Severna Park's players and coaches. The win avenged Chesapeake's 17-16 overtime victory April 19 that ended Severna Park's four-year winning streak at 57. And this year's title was won with a team that pales in athletic ability next to its predecessors, they said.
"This team doesn't have the physical talent of the others. What it does have is the talent for playing together. This team is great," said Riley, who teamed on the backline with her twin, Tami, Tanya Simmons and goalie Muhly (15 saves) to hold second-seeded Chesapeake (14-1) more than 10 goals below its average (15.1 per game).
Tuesday, Dulaney sensation Krissy Busse scored on Riley in the first five minutes of the top-seeded Lions' 14-6 loss. Yesterday, Cougars leader Diane McBee (72 goals) scored in the first six minutes. Neither Busse nor McBee ever hit the net again against Riley, a specialist at denying the ball to her opponent.
"Tina did an unbelievable job, but so did Sonya. The entire defense was outstanding," said second-year Falcons coach Carin Peterson (29-1). "Chesapeake relies on McBee and Julie Smith. If we did our job on them, I knew that they'd get frustrated."
"This is one of my best games. It's certainly my most rewarding," said Muhly, who stopped three of four penalty shots (two by McBee) and several point-blank attempts.
Helping to maintain the edge was a dominant midfield led by Roessler, Nicki Cecere and Amy Carnaggio, which accounted for most of the winners' ground balls (a 41-30 advantage) and was instrumental in holding the ball for much of the last 10 minutes.