The strategy couldn't get any more basic. Control the ball, and you'll control the game.
The Severna Park field hockey team did both yesterday, rolling to its third straight win of the season as it defeated host Broadneck 1-0.
Colleen Gately scored the only goal at 19:43 of the first half, and her team kept the ball on Broadneck's side most of the day.
"We had good passes and everything. We just couldn't get the ball in the goal, which is a problem," said Falcons coach Lil Shelton.
Broadneck was taking part in its first game of the season, putting the Bruins at an apparent disadvantage before the opening draw. But Broadneck coach Phoebe Kelly thought the layoff could have worked in her team's favor.
"We were able to get ourselves ready for Severna Park. We had a little more time to do so, to work on special game plans, to work on special play patterns. And the girls implemented them very well," she said.
The Falcons outshot Broadneck, 23-2, in the first half, but the only attempt that mattered came off Gately's stick. The junior attacker poked a loose ball past Bruins' keeper Hillary Frey, who had come out of the cage to play a shot from wing Tressa Campbell.
"I just deflected it in," Gately said.
Severna Park continued to dominate play in the second half, but the Bruins defense did just enough to keep the game close.
Karen Chesley cleared the ball from in front of the cage with 15 minutes left to disrupt one Severna Park surge, and teammate Laura Gareis did likewise two minutes later.
Campbell sent a shot toward the right corner of the goal, but Frey made a kick save. Another shot moments later barely went wide right.
"My defense worked exceptionally well," Kelly said. "I would have loved to have another game under our belts just to get rid of the jitters and develop a little more team coordination. But I think after watching them on the field of play, they had it."
Broadneck's Jami Coy passed the ball across the midfield stripe with 6:25 left, but the Falcons' Tracy McGarry gained control and drove it the other way.
The Bruins again worked the ball toward the Falcons' goal, only to have their rally snuffed out by Severna Park's Christina Ferris.
"Our midfield played a great game," Shelton said. "Katie Kuch and Liz Wilson and Megan Smith were superb. They kept that ball pushed up, but the offense couldn't do the things they are capable of doing."
Severna Park defeated the Bruins twice last year en route to the Class 4A state finals, where it lost to Westminster, 1-0.
A second meeting between the teams is anticipated again this year.
"I would like to think so," Kelly said. "I have a lot of freshmen out there playing. Most of my team consists of juniors and sophomores. I only have, really, three starting seniors."