Severna Park could have been excused for starting slowly yesterday. The No. 1-ranked Falcons were playing their first game, the air was chilled and the field had been softened considerably by this week's rain.
None of that mattered.
Jennie Voishan scored just 13 seconds into the game, and by the time 5:26 had elapsed, Severna Park owned a 3-0 lead. A brief lull ensued, but not long enough to save No. 10 St. Mary's from an 11-5 defeat.
Senior midfielder Erin Wylde scored three goals and assisted on another, and Kathy McCafferty and Colleen Gately each finished with two goals.
"We knew they'd be strong. They always are," said St. Mary's coach Tina Lewnes, whose team was outshot, 31-15.
"We're a lot stronger than we showed tonight."
Her team's chances at an upset were weakened considerably when Severna Park registered three quick goals, the first coming off the opening draw. Wylde circled the net and scored for a 2-0 lead at 2:11, and she burned the Saints again by cutting to the middle and beating goalkeeper Heather Donaldson (14 saves).
Midfielder Mary Sutton brought St. Mary's back into the game by scoring twice in a 10-second span, and Kirsten Angle nearly delivered the equalizer with a shot that Severna Park goalkeeper Shannon Chaney (eight saves) snatched out of the air.
Tara Foran, who later would assist Stephanie Fallon on a second-half goal, broke free from Severna Park's defense and fired a low shot that Chaney stopped. That led to six straight goals from the Falcons, beginning with Tressa Campbell converting a pass from Wylde at 18:08.
Chaney, a sophomore, was playing her first game in goal as a replacement for Brandee Snyder, who moved on to Anne Arundel Community College.
"Shannon did a nice job," said Falcons coach Carin Peterson, whose program has won the last four 3A-4A state championships, after taking the three previous 4A state/regional titles. "She made some nice point-blank saves. She just needs a little help on her technique, but goalie is a tough position to play."
Just ask Donaldson, who did all she could to keep St. Mary's close.
Shelley Seivert converted a free-position shot for a 5-2 lead, and Wylde, McCafferty and Kelly Clark each scored before the first half ended.
The Falcons led, 11-4, with 2:27 remaining in the game when St. Mary's Tory Burnett was credited with a goal after the hosts accidentally put the ball in their own net.