Falcons cashing in big Girls soccer: Severna Park, led by junior striker Holly Noga, is riding a scoring surge under first-year coach Chuck Seivert to a 11-1 start and No. 5 ranking.

October 18, 1998|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Think about all those powerful Severna Park girls soccer teams of the past and what comes to mind first? Defense, right? Not this season, though.

Make no mistake, the No. 5 Falcons' defense is again one of the metro area's finest, but it's their offense -- 49 goals in an 11-1 start -- that's drawing rave reviews in 1998.

Junior striker Holly Noga is racing past defenders and finding the corners of the net with confidence and regularity, scoring 13 goals so far after putting in four last season. She had her third straight hat trick in the Falcons' 3-1 victory at Chesapeake on Tuesday.

Freshman Erin Dubina has brought an intensity that has produced 12 goals and six assists on the season. And three others have at least four goals.

It all starts with what first-year coach Chuck Seivert calls "relentless pursuit."

The Falcons rely on pressure, pressure and more pressure from goal line to goal line.

"In the opposing team's defensive area, we like to pressure the ball. We've made the kids believe it's much easier working hard down there than constantly having to bring the ball up the field," said Seivert, previously an assistant under former longtime coach Joyce Stefancik, who guided the Falcons to four state championships with a more defensive approach.

Possession of the ball translates into more scoring chances and the Falcons have been cashing in.

"Last season, I was getting plenty of opportunities, but I wasn't keeping my head down and a lot of my shots were going high. This season, I'm keeping down on the ball -- I think I got all the kinks out," said Noga. "We do a lot of ball control drills, shooting from different angles and one-on-one situations where we have to practice our moves. After practicing those things so much, you get in games and know where you want to put the ball."

Seivert said Noga has been getting the ball there in a hurry, too.

"Now she's looking up and finding the open space. She's finishing hard too, they're not powder puff goals," he said.

Credit for the Falcons' offensive surge must also go to their defense, which does a fine job of distributing to help get things started. That's needed only when the ball gets past junior center midfielder Meg Miller and the rest of a strong halfback crew, which hasn't been often.

Miller, who Seivert calls his traffic cop in the middle, said the Falcons wanted to take a more offensive approach from the get-go this season.

"Our goal in the beginning of the season was to score more goals. You have to have a certain mentality to score in the box," said Miller, who has five assists on the season. "We're getting a lot of contributions from everyone. I can go to anyone on the field and when they get their chance, they can put it away. It's very rewarding."

On Tuesday, the Falcons found themselves trailing 1-0 against a talented Chesapeake team at the half. But they were able to regroup, and maintain their composure before getting three big answers from Noga. Chesapeake coach Lin Sullivan said the Falcons -- with all their skill and depth -- were difficult to handle for 80 minutes.

"They wear you down and they don't make mistakes. In the last 15 years, this is arguably the best team I've seen from them," he said.

Miller said it was a valuable lesson learned that will only help come playoff time.

"It teaches us a lot. We know we can come back. We weren't pressing and we knew we weren't out of the ball game," she said.

Fittingly, Noga provided the finishing touch to a masterpiece season in the making.

"Our midfield is great. The defense is strong and the offense is just putting them away," she said.

Pub Date: 10/18/98

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