Severna Park, Shelton have a night to remember

November 03, 1994|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Sun Staff Writer

Lil Shelton Night at Severna Park came within a penalty stroke of an unhappy ending.

In recognition of her 20th season as the Falcons' field hockey coach, Shelton was the recipient of yellow roses and glowing speeches. They held a reception for her in the school and presented her with a hockey stick with a brass plaque that read: "To Lil Shelton, for her love and devotion to the Severna Park program."

Oh, yes, and the team presented her with another win, the Falcons' 34th in a row and No. 253 of Shelton's career.

No. 1 Severna Park (14-0) was extended to the limit by No. 5 Chesapeake (11-3) in the Class 4A East Region final. After 80 scoreless minutes, Becky Shank's penalty shot won it for the Falcons, 1-0, enabling the two-time defending state champions to advance to the state semifinals Monday at Goucher.

"The last time I can recall one of our games being decided by penalty strokes was in the mid-1980s in the states," Shelton said.

It came down to penalty strokes after 60 minutes of regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods. After the first round, in which five players from each team took a shot at the goalie, one-on-one, the issue was still undecided because Severna Park's Megan Smith and Chesapeake's Erin Piechowiak each converted one.

The next round was sudden death, or as some coaches call it, sudden victory. Piechowiak, the first Chesapeake shooter, failed to solve Severna Park goalie Tara Taylor, but Shank flipped the ball into the upper left corner of the cage past Holly Colajezzi to win it.

"I felt I had to make up for missing my shot in the first round," said Shank, a junior defender. "I was under a lot of pressure."

Asked why she chose Shank to take the first shot in each round, Shelton said, "Becky is a very strong shooter. A lot of our players took good shots. Everybody was nervous. Do you realize the pressure they were under?"

It was a defensive struggle from start to finish. There were only eight shots in the first half and 19 total in regulation. Severna Park finished with a 21-6 edge in shots. Colajezzi made 13 saves, Taylor six.

Severna Park entered the state tournament last year not only undefeated but unscored upon. This year the Falcons have allowed five goals, scoring 60, but that generosity doesn't disturb Shelton.

"Giving up those few goals took the pressure off," she said.

For Chesapeake and coach Jerry Raab, it was an all-too-familiar ending. In 18 seasons, Raab has never beaten Shelton, making her 0-18 in the regular season and, she estimates, 0-23 or 0-24 overall counting playoff losses.

Before last night's game, she said, "If there's any time that's ours, this should be it."

Afterward, Raab hugged and consoled her tearful players. Asked for her thoughts on the game, Raab's voice became choked with emotion and she said she had nothing to say.

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