The lacrosse season has barely begun, but the St. Mary's girls already have had their biggest game.
It was yesterday, still in the rawness of March, against Severna Park, and the result was hardly predictable.
Only two years ago Severna Park won the state Class 3A-4A title, then finished 13-1 last season after being upset in the East Region playoffs by Annapolis. The Falcons entered this season ranked No. 5 and intent on returning to the state tournament.
But yesterday, in its opener, Severna Park was brought up short. Unranked St. Mary's (4-0) seized a 5-1 halftime lead and went on to defeat the Falcons, 11-7.
"This was our biggest game of the season," said St. Mary's coach Erika Mawhorr. "The girls have been up for it since tryouts began. This puts us on the right road for the rest of the season."
For Mawhorr, the victory was particularly sweet because she's a 1990 Severna Park High grad who played for coach Carin Peterson.
"I'd rather lose to a former Severna Park player than anyone else," Peterson said. "Erika does a nice job."
After jumping to the 5-1 lead that included two goals by freshman Kelli Thompson, St. Mary's held off Severna Park's second-half charge. Mawhorr gave much of the credit to sophomore goalie Jenni Corradini.
"She saved us in the second half," Mawhorr said. "She won the game for us. We had the will to win. We seemed to want to win more than they did."
Severna Park sophomore Amy Noble, who scored the Falcons' lone first-half goal, added four more in the second half. But even that wasn't enough.
"They outplayed us," Peterson said. "They did everything they needed to do. Shut us down. Ran through our defense. Shot where our goalie wasn't. Their girls could do anything they wanted to do."
In the first half it seemed as though Peterson's pregame fears were materializing. After noting that the Falcons had a strong defense and a fast midfield, she lamented the loss of last season's entire attack unit.
"No, it wasn't just the attack," Peterson said afterward. "It was everything, from attack to the midfield to the goal."
The closest Severna Park came to overtaking St. Mary's was when Noble's fourth goal made it 8-6 with 7 1/2 minutes left. But Saints goals by Meaghan O'Doherty, Jen Manning and Katie Robinson, to one by the Falcons, Noble's fifth, put the decision out of reach.