Round 1 to Annapolis in battle of unbeatens

Severna Park falls, 7-5, but two more games loom

April 28, 1999|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

When Annapolis gets together with Severna Park, every draw and ground ball won is well-earned, and each possession is vital.

That was apparent last night at Annapolis, where the No. 5-ranked Panthers took charge early in the second half with three unanswered goals on their way to a 7-5 win over No. 6 Severna Park in a battle of unbeatens.

With the score tied 2-2 at halftime, the defending Class 3A-4A state champion Panthers (11-0) came out for the second half ready to make their statement.

"We pumped it up in the second half," said senior co-captain Christy McNew. "We played like a team. This is our biggest rivalry, and we wanted it more. Severna Park is the game, and we know we've got them two more times, so we can't slack off."

Chances are the teams will meet again in the county championship game, as well as in region playoffs, where last year the Falcons, 9-1 this season, gave the Panthers their toughest test on the way to the state title.

Yesterday, the Panthers didn't get the upper hand until the second half, when they dug a little deeper for ground balls, cut to the goal a little quicker, and marked a little tighter with smothering pressure on the ball.

The pivotal exchange came four minutes into the second half after the Panthers already had regained a 3-2 lead on a goal from Mary Beth Simmons.

Severna Park senior Jess Mundt, looking to answer, worked her way from the back of the cage and got a step on Annapolis standout defender Becca McDevitt. But McDevitt recovered and checked the ball away before Mundt could shoot in front.

An Annapolis teammate recovered the loose ball, and a minute later, McNew scored one of her two goals, working her way in front and finishing left-handed to give the Panthers their first two-goal lead, 4-2.

"When it's Annapolis and Severna Park, you know it's going down to the wire -- nip and tuck -- with every possession crucial. You have to take advantage of everything," said Annapolis coach Dave Gehrdes. "In the second half, we were a little more patient offensively, and everyone got back on defense to help us smother things."

Sarah Oliphant (two goals) pushed the Annapolis lead to 5-2 with 17: 30 left, and the Falcons were never able to get any closer than two goals the rest of the way despite a strong all-around performance from junior defender Meg Miller (three goals).

"Annapolis played a great game and did everything they needed to do to take control," said Severna Park coach Carin Peterson. "They're very fast, but I think we also have the speed to keep up with them. Annapolis adjusted, and we had trouble adjusting.

The Panthers had a decisive 10-4 edge in draws, with Simmons and Acacia Walker (one goal, one assist) handling the chore.

Pub Date: 4/28/99

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