TOWSON — Goalie Kim Greenlee never saw the ball coming. Jen Stone, who took the shot, saw the play developing from the beginning.
And Diane Parisi, who made the pass, never expected to be on the offensive end.
It all added up to a 1-0 Severna Park win over Old Mill in yesterday's 4A state field hockey semifinals.
The top-seeded Falcons (15-0) will be looking for their sixth state championship, and first since 1988, when they meet second-seeded Westminster at 2 p.m. Saturday at Goucher College.
Greenlee still may be looking for the ball.
"I didn't even know that it went in," she said, after a spectacular nine-save afternoon that was marred only by Stone's goal, her 16th.
The fourth-seeded Patriots (8-6-1), making their first appearance in the state playoffs, were outshot, 22-3, but remained in a scorelesstie until the last 5 minutes, 48 seconds.
Stone took a crossing pass from Parisi, who assumed the spot normally occupied by injured midfielder Lisa Hetrick, and slapped the ball past Greenlee. It was Severna Park's second shot of the half, the first coming with under eight minutes left.
"I was just sitting there waiting to pop it in," said Stone, who netted two goals last Thursday in a 2-0 victory over Broadneck in the 4A Region IV finals.
Parisi has served mostly as adefender this season after playing in the midfield last year. She changed positions yesterday when Hetrick went out with 14 minutes, 32 seconds left in the game after being struck on the right hand by an Old Mill shot.
"I knew if we got the ball back across goal, someone would be there to pop it in," said Parisi, who made her pass from theright wing.
It's a play the Falcons have rehearsed many times.
"We practice the square across and the one-touch in because that always beats the goalie, and it did," Shelton said.
Like many of the Severna Park players, Shelton was frustrated by her team's inability to score sooner.
The Falcons certainly had enough chances, unleashing 17 shots in the first half, compared to two by Old Mill.
"We just couldn't find the goal," Shelton said. "Twenty-two shots and one goal; that's not a good ratio. But we kind of came alive in the last eight minutes or so and played the kind of game we normally play. Butwe have to be sharper if we want to be state champs."
Greenlee was aided considerably by defenders Gillian Hewitt, Jenny Atchison, Karin Gleason and Catherine Hewitt, who often redirected Severna Park shots.
"I think we did better than Severna Park expected to see fromus today," said Patriots coach Jo Funk, whose team lost to the Falcons, 2-1, during the regular season.
"We missed some opportunities,and they missed some opportunities. It wasn't totally dominated by them offensively. We had a few offensive charges and worked the ball down the field. We just couldn't put it in."
Neither could the Falcons until Stone sneaked a shot past Greenlee and moved her team within one game of a state championship.
Severna Park defeated Westminster, 1-0, in last year's state semifinals, before losing to Bethesda-Chevy Chase in the finals, 2-1.
The Owls are 11-1, their only losscoming against Liberty, 1-0. They won the state title in 1985 and 1986, before the Falcons began a two-year reign.
Yesterday, they defeated third-seeded Magruder, 1-0.
"We'll be ready. We'll get all our little wounds mended, and we'll get our heads on straight," Shelton said.
"This is an exciting time. They work all year long in order to be here at this point. We've been denied the last few years, so we've decided it's about our time again."