When Old Mill girls soccer coach Bruce Sponsler spoke of rival Severna Park back in August, he marveled at the Falcons' ability to recoupafter the departure of key players to graduation.
"They lose plenty of kids," he said. "They just never lose any games."
Or so it's been for nearly four years -- until yesterday.
Senior forward Terri Bogle snapped a 1-1 tie at 4 minutes, 53 seconds of the second half, and Old Mill's defense held on for a 2-1 victory that snapped host Severna Park's 57-game unbeaten streak, the nation's fifth all-time longest.
The Falcons (8-1-2 overall, 2-1-1 in the Friendship Division) hadn't lost since November 1987, when Old Mill (11-0, 4-0) prevailed in the regional finals, 2-0.
"I told the girls we were the last team to beat Severna Park and the first team to beatthem again," said Sponsler, whose squads have defeated Severna Park four times since 1986, when Old Mill won the first of its two consecutive state titles. Severna Park has won the last three state championships.
"You don't have to worry about getting kids up for a game like this. We knew we'd be up," he said.
His defense certainly was up to the task of shutting down Severna Park, especially junior sweeper Lori Lynch, who continues to play despite a broken nose.
Lynch had to leave the game briefly in the first half after being punched in the face, but that was the only time she wasn't disrupting a Falconattack and swinging the momentum back in her team's favor.
"She'sjust a general back there," said Sponsler, whose team virtually has locked up the top seeding in Region II. "She reminds me of a great sweeper who played on this field, Gina Roberts, who many say is the greatest sweeper in the history of the county. And Lynch has got anotheryear to challenge her."
Lynch made her presence felt immediately,preventing senior forward Cathi Hanson from going one-on-one with Old Mill keeper Jackie Bardelli in the opening minutes by moving in andjarring the ball loose.
Teammate Jennifer Bostak, another important cog in Old Mill's defense, was trailing the play and cleared the ball.
The scene was repeated numerous times, and it was only fitting that Lynch would run down Severna Park's Erin Wylde along the rightsideline in the game's final minute to prevent a last-ditch shot.
"I didn't want anybody to get by me with a shot and possible goal," said Lynch, holding an ice pack to her face. "I just found out a couple of games ago that the more aggressive I am, the less shots they have and the less chance they have to score."
The Falcons' only goalcame from Hanson, at 37:44 of the first half, on a pass from Nicki Cecere that drew Bardelli out of the net.
Otherwise, Bardelli played a solid game, making eight saves in her toughest assignment of the year. She has appeared in nearly half of Old Mill's games this fall and played the final seven games of last season as a freshman after Amy Drapalski was injured.
Drapalski, who hasn't allowed a goal all season, missed a practice Monday due to illness, but Sponsler said healready had penciled in Bardelli as his starter.
"I want to keep both of them sharp because I know what hap
pened last season," Sponsler said. "(Bardelli's) a playoff goalie. She had three playoff games last year and she's prepared. She's a savvy kid."
Bogle had netted the game's initial goal off a pass from seniorforward Teri Lee at30:23 of the first half.
"Bogle was just superb tonight," Sponsler said. "She's a master at control under pressure. She just had a great game, a great game."