No. 2 Severna Park escapes, 1-0 Gaither's second-half goal enough for Falcons to dispose of Chesapeake

"We knew they had a good defense, but couldn't score." Lil Shelton,Severna Park coach, on Chesapeake

October 14, 1998|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Jessica Gaither's ninth goal of the season about 3 1/2 minutes into the second half stood up as No. 2-ranked Severna Park nipped upset-minded Chesapeake, 1-0, at George Roberts Field last night.

Defense was center stage as the visiting Cougars (7-2-3) could not muster any offense in their bid to become the first county public school team to defeat Severna Park (11-1) since Annapolis in 1985.

"We weren't surprised, we knew Chesapeake was good," said Gaither, who scored the lone goal from the top of the circle on a corner opportunity.

Severna Park had been on a scoring binge, outscoring its last two opponents 10-0 (Spalding, 4-0, and Southern, 6-0) and have four players with seven or more goals.

"This was good because it teaches us that we have to work on things like connecting our passes," said Severna Park coach Lil Shelton, who improved to 316-40-5 in her career. "We knew they had a good defense, but couldn't score."

Severna Park's defense was responsible for the Cougars not scoring last night.

Led by seniors Julie Shank, Kelly Adlam and Erin Hancock and junior Becky Skinner, the Falcons limited the Cougars to just three shots overall, and only one in the second half.

"Our defense is superb, all the way through, but we can't put the ball in the goal," said Chesapeake coach Jerri Taylor, whose team has played three 0-0 ties and not given up more than one goal in a game.

Falcons junior goalie Kim Lawton was called on to make two saves, one in each half while her counterpart, senior Valerie Bryant rejected 11 shots, eight in the second half.

Cougar defenders Karin Michalowicz, Megan Skiles, Pam Hemmings, Emily Ison and Pam Demske kept their team in the game despite relentless pressure by the Falcons.

Severna Park kept the heat on Bryant and the Cougars by driving and pushing 18 shots in 31 minutes of possession time.

"We dominated the second half, kept the ball in the mouth of the goal a lot," said Shelton.

The Falcons had the ball for 17: 44 of the second half and spent a lot of time in the striking circle, firing off 13 shots, including two by All-American midfielder Sara Zuckerman in the last seven minutes. They just couldn't get the ball behind the excellent Cougars defense.

"We got kind of frantic driving the ball at various times like we did in a previous game," said Shelton.

Gaither thought her team might have been due for a game like last night's after their recent roll.

Taylor hopes to get another shot at the Falcons either in the county championship game or the region playoffs.

"This was definitely a confidence-builder for us," said Taylor. "Hopefully by the next time we see them we will be better offensively."

Pub Date: 10/14/98

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