Sev. Park ends jinx, takes title, 13-11

Taglienti, Hunt stand out as Falcons' 5-1 run gives Westminster first loss

Class 4A-3A boys lacrosse

High Schools

May 27, 2004|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

At 6 feet 4, Severna Park midfielder Ben Hunt stands a foot taller than his attackman teammate, Frank Taglienti.

But the underclassmen complement each other well.

Yesterday, they represented the tall and the short of the Falcons' 13-11 Class 4A-3A state championship victory over Westminster. The pair combined for eight points in the fifth straight win by Severna Park (16-4), which had been state runner-up three times since 2000.

Taglienti, a sophomore, finished with three goals and two assists. Called "a little soldier" by Hunt, Taglienti scored three of the Falcons' first six goals and assisted on the third at UMBC Stadium.

"This is the state finals, so I just wanted to step it up and leave everything on the field," said Taglienti, 16, who became a starter midway through the season. "I'm always getting jokes from my teammates: `Shorty,' `Short Stuff,' `Short Stack' -- but it doesn't affect me, because I have a big heart. This is definitely the best game I've played all year, and it was an amazing experience."

Hunt, a starter on last year's state runners-up, is a junior who scored three times, twice during a 5-1 run that helped Severna Park turn a 6-6 second-quarter tie -- the game's fifth tie -- into an 11-7 third-quarter lead.

"Losing last year was a heartbreaker, so I wanted to come back that much harder," said Hunt, who wears a size 15 shoe. "We didn't think they would be a pushover, and they weren't. We just played slow in the first half."

Senior Andrew Lusby (two goals, two assists), Davy Jo Ruppert (two goals) and Chris Engler (one goal, one assist) also contributed as the 11th-ranked Falcons earned their second state title.

The victory ended four years of frustration for Severna Park, which vanquished four-time defending champ Dulaney, 10-9, in Saturday's overtime semifinal after having been state runner-up to the Lions in 2000, 2002 and 2003.

But underdog Westminster (16-1), in its first state title game, hung tough during the first half, led by Mike Brown (two goals, three assists), Alex Finch (three, one) and Bryce Geiman, Matt Duke and Pat Barnes, with two points each.

The Owls led briefly 1-0 and 2-1, and entering the second quarter, the teams were tied at 4. Down 12-8 with 9:51 to play, Westminster scored three of the next four goals to come within 13-11 with 4:14 remaining.

"They must have had, like, 10 fast-break goals. They were fast-breaking us all day long," said Severna Park goalkeeper Mike Gvozden (16 saves), a sophomore. "They were a lot better than we thought, but we were able to turn it on a little after halftime."

Westminster's keeper, Chris Collins, also a sophomore, constantly stuffed the Falcons, finishing the game with 18 saves.

"We knew they had a great goalie, but we're a great shooting team, and we happened to have a great goalie, too," said the Owls' Finch. "This is not upsetting at all. They were a great team, but we showed we're a great team, too."

Westminster had assists on eight goals.

"I believe that we were huge underdogs and that we were underestimated," said the Owls' Brown. "But we played a great game and were two goals short. I have no regrets."

Goals: S--Hunt 3, Taglienti 3, Ruppert 2, Lusby 2, Zichelli, Coughlin, Engler; W--A. Finch 3, Geiman 2, Brown 2, Johnson 2, Barnes, Duke. Assists: S--Lusby 2, Taglienti 2, Engler, Jahnigan; W--Brown 3, A. Finch, R. Finch, Duke, Barnes, Johnson. Half: S, 7-6.

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