Severna Park wins 15th state title

Field hockey

High Schools


College Park -- When Severna Park's field hockey team set up for a penalty corner midway through the first half of last night's state championship game, Amanda Himmelheber saw her chance.

Himmelheber played on the Falcons team that was upset by Bethesda-Chevy Chase in last year's state Class 3A final, and she wanted to make sure her team won this time against No. 5 Fallston.

When Allison Behringer stopped the corner pass, Himmelheber nailed the ball into the right side of the cage, sparking the No. 1 Falcons to a 2-0 victory at the University of Maryland's field hockey complex.

"Last year, it didn't feel good to lose, and I wasn't going to let that happen again," Himmelheber said. "Allison stopped it, and I hit is as hard as I could into the goal."

Behringer added an insurance goal in the second half as the Falcons (19-1) boosted their state record number of titles to 15 in their 24th appearance in the 31-year-old state tournament. Fallston (15-5), which last won in 2001, has nine state titles.

The Cougars won the previous two meetings with Severna Park, ousting the Falcons in regional-final shootouts in 2001 and 2002, but last night belonged to the Falcons.

Although Fallston got the better of play on the artificial turf in the early going, Himmelheber ended that on the perfect corner play with 11:31 to go in the first half. Behringer stopped Julie Gardner's corner pass cold, and Himmelheber nailed it into the cage.

"It's so much faster [on turf]. I think the defense has a hard time getting out there quick enough," Himmelheber said.

"That was a good shot, and [the goalie's] only chance unless it's a direct hit on you is you've got to lay out, you've got to go down," Fallston coach Alice Puckett said.

Puckett said her team's inexperience on the fast turf showed once Himmelheber scored and the Falcons began to move the ball well.

"Once we let them start moving the ball I thought our inexperience on turf started to show," Puckett said. "We definitely came out strong and did some really good things, but we needed to do something in the first 15 minutes when we were playing really, really well."

Fallston, which matched the Falcons with three shots in the first half, didn't manage a shot after Himmelheber's first goal thanks to the Falcons' strong midfield and defense. Behringer added her goal, a line drive from near the top of the circle with 11:49 left in the game.

Pocomoke 1, Rising Sun 0 -- Leigha Peterson scored with 4:30 left in the game on a feed from Kristin Dennig to give the Warriors their third straight Class 1A championship. The Warriors (14-2) won the 13th state title in the program's history, tying them for second place all-time with Bethesda-Chevy Chase behind Severna

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