Severna Park sails, 4-0, to 10th straight Arundel title

4 players score against S. River for 15-0 Falcons

Field hockey

October 22, 2004|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

It's been a decade now that Anne Arundel County has played an annual field hockey championship game, and the story has stayed the same: Severna displays unrivaled skills and cheerfully walks off with the bigger plaque.

More decisive on offense and smoother on defense, the No. 1 Falcons made it a perfect 10 county championships in 10 tries with a 4-0 win over No. 8 South River yesterday at Old Mill.

Overall, the Falcons have been declared Anne Arundel champions in 26 of the 27 years the sport has been played there, starting in 1978.

Tara Gardner, Amanda Himmelheber, Kim Kral and Keri Fisher scored; Abbi Horn's dazzling stick dished three assists; Katie Turner and Lauren Cechak provided strong support on defense; and goalie Dee Crovo made six saves in the win that put the Falcons a perfect 15-0 going into postseason.

"Every year, you always want it. But in your senior year it's a little more special," said Fisher, a senior who also had an assist. "We've been a really tight group for a long time, so we all know how each other plays. We try to work together as a team and have a lot of good communication, so it's always a good team effort."

Gardner opened the scoring with her team-high 27th goal of the season seven minutes into play on an assist from Horn. The Falcons continued to pressure for big chunks of the first half, finally getting breathing room with goals from Himmelheber and Kral - a strong drive from just inside the scoring arc off a penalty corner - in the final three minutes to take a 3-0 halftime lead.

Severna Park veteran coach Lil Shelton said keys yesterday were connecting on passes, desire, teamwork and "they just wanted it."

As for the program's unmatched success, which includes a Maryland-best 14 state titles, Shelton needed just one word: "Continuity."

The Seahawks (11-3) have been the only county team to provide a regular push against the mighty Falcons in recent years, winning regular-season games in 2000 and again last year. But, in their fourth county title game in the past five years, they were unable to find a breakthrough.

South River coach Laura Hoffner was quick to credit Severna Park and also found positives the Seahawks can build on in the upcoming playoffs.

"Severna Park has a tradition of being awesome," she said, adding: "My girls played their hearts out, they played well, they never gave up, and I think all that stuff is important."

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