"It's always tough to lose," said Severna Park girls lacrosse coach Carin Peterson, "but it's the tough people that come back from a loss."
The Falcons certainly have the look of a resilient team, as they showed again Friday with a 14-8 win over previously undefeated Southern.
They've won two straight games over ranked opponents since losingto Annapolis, 7-5, on April 3. They out-gunned St. Mary's last Tuesday, 17-13, but Friday's triumph was the biggest yet for a group that starts five sophomores and has just two seniors on its roster.
"How can I not be happy?" Peterson asked. "They've done a nice job and they are babies. So far, they're doing an outstanding job and I have to compliment them for that, being so young and holding their own against these teams."
Senior midfielder Nicki Cerece, who finished with one goal and one assist, said, "We were kind of nervous after the Annapolis loss, but I think we're a little settled now. We're coming together real well and I think we're going to get even better."
Southern, ranked eighth in the metro area, was averaging 16 goals a game, but it didn't come close to that total against No. 4 Severna Park. The visiting Bulldogs didn't score until 4:06 remained in the first half, when senior midfielder Rachel Gladwell netted the first of her two goals to reduce the Falcons' lead to 4-1.
Gladwell's shot was Southern's sixth of the half, and the Bulldogs were outshot, 33-21, for the game.
"We worked with a chaser tonight, double- and triple-teaming constantly," said junior midfielder Amy Carnaggio, who had three goals. "And we marked their big guns and took that away from them."
Southern's Talaya Barnett scored four goals, mostly on long sprints downfield, to increase her team-leading total to 27. But senior attacker Jennie Young (24 goals) and freshman attacker Becky Archambo (13) each scored just once, and senior midfielder Liza Bigger (12) was shut out.
"What happened with us the whole game was we did not execute," said Southern coach Linda Kilpatrick. "You can not win a game if you don't throw and catch. We were coming off two really big wins (over St. Mary's, 13-12, and Annapolis, 11-10) and I told them, 'You cannot celebrate and enjoy those victories because you have anothertop-ranked team coming after you.'"
The Bulldogs' offense alreadywas smarting from the loss of sophomore attacker Kari Sherbert (18 goals), who received a red card against Annapolis and had to sit out Friday's game.
"I don't know if it would have made that much of a difference," Kilpatrick said. "But our transition game was not going today, mainly because we were missing the ball so much in the first half and we got into thinking, 'We've got to run the ball instead of making the passes.' On a big field like this, you can't run it from oneend to the other. You've got to pass the ball."
Southern nearly passed by the Falcons, coming within 5-4 early in the second half and 8-6 with 14:59 left. But Severna Park, winners of five straight Class4A-3A state championships, maintained both its poise and the lead.
Carnaggio scored on a free position shot with 13:48 left, and midfielder Colleen Gately followed with a goal just 25 seconds later.
Barnett scooped up a ground ball and scored with 12:39 remaining to cut the lead to 10-7. But Falcons sophomore midfielder Erin Wylde circled the net and beat Southern keeper Crystal Bennett (15 saves), then came back with another goal 20 seconds later to put her team ahead, 12-7.
"We're young and we're just starting to come together," said Wylde, who had five goals and one assist. "There's a lot of skill andtalent on this team. This win puts everybody at equal standing and it shows how good we are."
Falcons' junior attacker Liz Wilson scored two goals, and sophomores Gately and Erin McNeally and junior Stephanie Roberts each netted one. Junior keeper Brandee Snyder made seven saves.
"We're telling people that even though we're young, we'regoing to fight," Peterson said. "They're still going to have to fight to beat us."