54-game field hockey run ends in Severn Severna Park loses for 1st time since '92

September 06, 1996|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

The Severn field hockey team beat Hurricane Fran here last night and blew through a seemingly invincible Severna Park team, leveling the Falcons' 54-game winning streak that had gained much national attention.

The sixth-ranked Admirals outran top-ranked and four-time defending state champion Severna Park almost all evening on the way to a 1-0 victory at Severn that cast a hush over a large contingent of Severna Park fans and touched off unabashed excitement among everybody connected with the Severn squad.

Severna Park had cracked the National High School Federation field hockey record books at fifth place all-time with the 54 straight victories from October 1992 to yesterday's season opener and at ninth place with 35 in a row from 1986 to 1988.

Concord, N.H., is fourth with 60 in a row from 1986 to 1989 and the all-time record of 106 was set by an Oklahoma City, Okla., school from 1956 to 1969.

The Falcons were in some fast company until they were surprised by the little private school seven-tenths of a mile down the road.

For Severn and senior forward Bess Freedlander, it was the end of a four-year quest for a win over its more celebrated neighbor.

Freedlander scored the only goal with 6: 15 left in the first half when she pushed the ball into the goal from 10-feet out off a pass from Lauren Poile.

"This year we wanted it so badly that it was almost as if we weren't going to leave school until we beat Severna Park," said Freedlander. "Lauren and I were in front of the goal and we were pushing the ball at the goal. I don't think she [Severna Park goalkeeper Laura Snider] saw the ball at all. I believe she was shielded."

Poile said she was close enough to take the shot but opted to pass to Freedlander because "one of our plays is to give the ball to the person on the strong side. All that mattered anyway was winning the game."

Snider insisted she saw the ball all the way and it went off her toe.

"It wasn't any unbelievable goal or anything like that," said Snider. "It just got by me, going off my left foot."

Snider seemed to sum up the feelings of many Severna Park players when she said, "We'll keep going and now we'll be looking for a fifth straight state 4A title."

Severna Park scoring standout Amy Noble, who had 19 goals and nine assists last season, was shut down by an aggressive Severn defense led by Gussie Habeck, who drew the assignment of shadowing the All-Metro first-team choice.

Habeck had a lot of help from defenders Ann Pailthorp, Katie Clark and Biff Moorshead.

Severn goalkeeper Molly Arey came up with five saves to keep the Falcons off the scoreboard.

Severna Park outshot the Admirals, 11-8, and had a 14-3 edge in penalty corners.

Noble rained shots on the goal off several corners in the final minutes and twice came within inches of tying the game.

"Field hockey is a game of inches," said Severn coach Renie Sotiropoulos. "And those inches were in favor of us this year against Severna Park. We didn't let them frazzle us. I think we were in better shape than we were last year [3-2 loss], more intense, more focused and running on enthusiasm and adrenalin."

Noble said, "We didn't play as a team, but we'll learn from it and move on. I didn't like it [losing] one bit. We were trying some new things and we'll get them worked out. Severn deserved to win."

Severna Park coach Lil Shelton never seemed to get upset throughout the game, and when it was over, she said, "I thought I'd be devastated when the streak ended, but I honestly don't feel that way now.

"We didn't play our game, and that one goal just seemed to squeak in there."

Pub Date: 9/06/96

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