St. Mary's puts streak on line at Severna Park

Sidelines

April 16, 2000|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

The phrase "a lot at stake" was made for tomorrow's 7 p.m. St. Mary's at Severna Park boys lacrosse game.

It's the biggest nonleague game in Anne Arundel County in at least 10 years because for the first time, St. Mary's appears to be the underdog against a public school team.

Both teams are capable of winning their respective championships. Fourth-ranked St. Mary's (5-3) is a contender in the highly competitive Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference, while No. 6 Severna Park (7-0) is favored to repeat as the Class 4A/3A state champion.

Quite obviously, there is more than just county bragging rights at stake.

Severna Park could make a statement for public school lacrosse vs. private school lacrosse, and many who have seen both teams this spring believe the Falcons can win. That is unheard of in lacrosse circles.

The Saints have never lost to a public school team in more than 100 games in 21 years with Jim Moorhead as head coach.

Over the years, the county's top public school teams -- such as Annapolis, Broadneck and Severna Park -- scheduled St. Mary's more than the others not really expecting to win, but hoping to improve from the experience.

Those county coaches bold enough to schedule the Saints were often asked why they took on such a seemingly hopeless challenge. That doesn't appear to be the case for the Falcons.

"It's going to be a great challenge to play them," Moorhead said.

"My assistant coaches have seen them and said Severna Park has an excellent team with a group of excellent midfielders. No question, they're a very talented team and we're going to have our hands full."

Many outstanding players on both sides played in last year's 14-9 St. Mary's victory over Severna Park, including such All-County selections as midfielders Starke Mueller of Severna Park and Joe Thompson of St. Mary's and defensemen, David Wagner, Severna Park, and the Saints' Matt Pessagno.

And there is much more talent on each team other than those four players.

After last year's hard-fought loss, Falcons coach Mike Bellotte, who played for Moorhead at St. Mary's, said, "Until you kill the king, and St. Mary's is the king in our county, you can't say you're No. 1 in Anne Arundel even if you win a state public school championship."

Bellotte has had remarkable success since taking the reins of Severna Park lacrosse three years ago. He led the Falcons to a county title his rookie season and a state championship last year.

Sideliners

No. 13 Southern of Harwood (6-1) won't be a welcome guest after St. Mary's when Severna Park is host to the Bulldogs at 5: 15 p.m. Tuesday in boys lacrosse. Volleyball setter Ashleigh Verrillo, the first Annapolis Area Christian School athlete named All-Metro first team, officially signed with Geneva College, an NAIA school in Beaver Falls, Pa. The Tornadoes hope to have the same kind of success the AACS Eagles had in going 47-16 over the past three years with Verrillo. Former Severna Park All-County (1997) player Casey Stidham, a sophomore catcher at Towson University, hit four homers, two against George Washington and two against Navy, in two days this past week. Mike Ziegler (Old Mill) is 7-1 for college baseball's top-ranked Florida State, while little brother Chip is 5-1 for No. 3 Arundel (9-2). Unranked Meade (3-5) shocked No. 15 Glen Burnie (7-5) in baseball, 5-4, at Cannon Stadium Friday on John Howard's single in the bottom of the ninth.

Have a note or idea for Sidelines? Call Pat O'Malley's 24-hour Sportsline at 410-647-2499.

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