Dulaney bumped from playoffs in 6-0 setback to Severna Park No. 2 Falcons shooting for 11th championship

Class 4A field hockey

November 10, 1998|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Second-ranked Severna Park's resume is enough to scare any opponent and Dulaney coach Cathy Fisher said that was part of what happened to her team in yesterday's state semifinal.

Against the defending state champs, the Lions played timidly at first, yielding two goals in 10 minutes. Severna Park went on to a 6-0 victory in a Class 4A semifinal at Goucher and will play Magruder for the title at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Fisher, a former coach at Archbishop Spalding in Anne Arundel County, knew all about coach Lil Shelton's Falcons, who have been to the state tournament more than any other team (18 times) and won more titles (10).

Unfortunately for Fisher, her team knew about the Falcons (17-1) too. Several of her players were on the Lions team that lost to Severna Park, 3-0, in a 1996 state semifinal.

"When they saw they were playing Severna Park, they had a look of fear on their faces," said the Lions' first-year coach. "They just kind of psyched themselves out."

In addition to the mental disadvantage, the Lions (11-3-1) were also at a disadvantage in skill and experience against the Falcons, who have three All-State players.

"Their whole season, they play higher skilled teams than we do," said Dulaney forward Jean Sneeringer. "We don't get that type of competition during the season, so it didn't prepare us for this."

The Falcons had possession of the ball almost the entire first half. Jess Gaither and Nikki Barnes scored on early penalty corners and Emily Mooney and Sara Zuckerman added unassisted goals for a 4-0 halftime lead.

Although the Lions played much better in the second half and Sara Rupprecht narrowly missed scoring a goal, they were simply overmatched. The Falcons outshot them, 27-5, and Alisa Jordan made 14 saves.

"Our defense this year has been really strong all together," said back Ericka Lundell, "but their team's phenomenal. They're a really quick team, so it's harder for us to get our links back to mark. Marking was the key today."

The Falcons had 17 penalty corners -- 14 in the first half. Although the Falcons converted two, All-America midfielder Zuckerman said the Lions' corner defense was tough.

"They didn't consistently give us any holes," said Zuckerman. "Normally, we can find one place they're never at, but they kept coming out strong and coming out in different ways, so we kept changing our plays. They were really skilled, very good stickwork. They definitely have the potential to be really strong."

The Lions proved that in the regional semifinals when they upset Chesapeake, of Anne Arundel County, 2-1, behind a stellar 16-save effort by Jordan. Their only two previous losses -- to No. 12 Hereford and Westminster -- were by one goal.

Lundell, one of 13 Dulaney seniors, said this experience will benefit the players who return.

"Playing teams like this helps us to step up our game and to learn. Playing harder teams only makes you play better.

Pub Date: 11/10/98

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