Falcons, Panthers set to renew duel Again Severna Park, Annapolis head girls class of region's lacrosse teams

March 22, 1998|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Plenty of quality teams will be competing in the girls lacrosse Class 3A-4A East region, Broadneck and Arundel to name a couple, but, chances are, the state tournament entry in May will once again come down to Severna Park and Annapolis.

Talk about rivalries, the Falcons and Panthers have met in the last eight region championship games. And that's always comes after the two teams duke it out in the county's South Division. Severna Park, the county's traditional power, won the first four meetings before Annapolis completely caught up in 1994, winning the next three region crowns and claiming a state title in a 20-0 campaign in 1996.

Last season, Severna Park was back on top with a 6-5 win over the Panthers before losing to Mount Hebron, 8-6, in the state final. The last three region finals have been decided by a combined five goals.

The open playoff format doesn't guarantee an Annapolis-Severna Park matchup in the region final, but that's how the brackets have worked out in recent years. Rightly so.

"We've had some good battles and we were fortunate enough last year to come out [with wins] both times," said Severna Park coach Carin Peterson, also referring to a regular season win. "When it comes to a rivalry like this, it doesn't matter who may be gone or not gone, but intensity and want on that day."

Annapolis coach David Gehrdes says the rivalry starts with the quality feeder programs both teams have had over the years and the fact that the players grow up playing against each other. Successful JV programs continue to move things along.

The result?

"A lot of barn-burners," said Gehrdes. "Neither team ever leaves anything on the field at the end of a game. All the games are exciting because a lot of big-time players have played in this rivalry."

Severna Park currently has 18 former players competing in the college ranks with Annapolis not far behind at 17. There's more to come.

"This year should be just as competitive with more excellent players on both sides," said Gehrdes.

Annapolis features a high-powered attack completely intact from last season led by senior Kelly Dirks, who earned first-team All-Metro honors after scoring 66 goals and adding 39 assists. The Falcons counter with a stingy defense led by All-Metro standout Julie Shank.

Last year, defense won out with Severna Park coming away with the one-goal win in the region after beating Annapolis during the regular season, 7-3.

Another county rivalry that's fast picking up steam is at the Class 1A-2A level with Southern and South River.

For a second straight time, the Bulldogs advanced to the state tournament last year with a East region win over their neighborhood foes.

"Just today in practice, I was asking one of my players, Melody Johnson, about South River," said Southern coach Linda Kilpatrick. "I only lost a couple of players and they've only lost a couple of players, so it looks like we may be battling it out again."

The Seahawks have 19 players returning with varsity experience while the Bulldogs have all but two players coming back from last year's squad.

The possible difference this season could be one of the players not returning for Southern -- All-Metro first-teamer Lindsey Lowman, now at William and Mary. She scored 80 goals for the Bulldogs, including a regional playoff record 11 in the Bulldogs' 17-13 win over South River.

Making up for Lowman's offense is nothing new to Kilpatrick, also the Bulldogs girls basketball coach. She just guided the girls basketball team to a second straight state semifinal despite losing the team-leading 14-point average Lowman had the prior season.

"We'll have to spread the scoring out, a little like we did in basketball," said Kilpatrick.

Pub Date: 3/22/98

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.