Falcons' title hopes dashed in emotional 2-1 loss to Wootton Pivotal handball call deflates Severna Park

Class 4A girls soccer

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

As the Severna Park girls were stepping up to receive their Class 4A runner-up plaques last night shortly after their disheartening 2-1 loss to Montgomery County's Wootton, coach Chuck Seivert twice told them to wipe away the tears.

It was difficult.

In an instant early in the second half at North County High in Ferndale, the No. 2 Falcons not only saw their one-goal lead disappear, but also their hopes of capturing a fourth state crown.

An apparent intentional hand ball in the penalty area on Severna Park's standout fullback Lindsey Nauman not only awarded the Patriots (18-1-1) a penalty kick -- converted by Laney Rosin -- to tie the game at 1 with 32 minutes left -- but it also left the Falcons (18-2) without their top marking back, the rest of the game.

Wootton took advantage, getting a goal in front from Melissa Gagnier off a cross from Rosin with 18 minutes left to capture its first state title.

Following the game, the referee refused to comment on the handball infraction that proved so vital.

Severna Park's sophomore goalie Kerry York, who briefly had possession of the ball just prior to the call with a crowd in front, was closest to the play that occurred along the far post.

"All I have to say is he made his own call. I saved the ball and the last thing I saw [Nauman] kicked it away," she said.

Severna Park junior midfielder Meg Miller put the call, the Falcons' incredible season and their future plans all in perspective.

"It was a questionable call. It didn't look like he was in the correct position to make the call. This is the best team I've ever played with at Severna Park. Next year we'll be missing three amazing [seniors], but hopefully we can come back with the same mentality," she said.

Things looked good early for the Falcons, who took an 18-game winning streak into the final, when junior striker Holly Noga ran onto a through ball from Lauren Mitchell and scored 1: 30 into the game.

The Patriots pressed for the equalizer for a good part of the remainder of the first half. But some solid Severna Park defense to go with some poor finishing kept the Falcons on top.

Noga, who finished the season with 16 goals, further summed up the second-half controversy.

"It's amazing how a call can change a game like that. I'm very satisfied with our 18-2 season. We know what our team is all about," she said.

The Falcons showed what they were all about in the last 20 minutes of the second half, down a player but never quitting.

Miller had a chance late with a direct kick from 25 yards out. Her first didn't get past the Wootton wall, but her left-footed rebound was right on the mark with the Patriots' Jesse Smat going to her left to make the save.

Said Seivert, "I'm proud of my kids. I told them I loved them and they were the best team in the state. We'll be back next year."

Pub Date: 11/22/98

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