Severna Park needs OT to down No. 2 Fallston

Gardner's penalty stroke sends No. 1 Falcons to 3A title game

Severna Park 1 Fallston 0

Field hockey

November 10, 2006|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN REPORTER

Severna Park's Julie Gardner needed just one thing as she stepped up to take a penalty stroke in overtime of last night's state Class 3A field hockey semifinal: confidence.

She certainly had it, lofting her shot over Fallston goalie Megan Sadowski's head to give the top-ranked and defending-champion Falcons a 1-0 victory in a game that lived up to its No. 1 vs. No. 2 billing at South River High School.

In a rematch of last year's state Class 3A championship, No. 2 Fallston had the better of play much of the second half, but the Falcons (17-0-1) had the only opportunity in seven-on-seven sudden-death overtime.

The penalty stroke came after Sadowski, moving out to play the ball, collided with a Falcons attacker and both hit the ground. The attacker was moving in to take the shot but never had a chance to play the ball, so the Falcons were awarded the penalty stroke.

Gardner scored with about 30 seconds left in overtime.

"We do them in practice all the time just in case of something like this," the junior midfielder said. "The coaches always say you've got to go up to the line and just know you're going to put it in. You have to have a positive attitude."

The Falcons needed that positive attitude all around - and a huge effort from All-Metro goalie Corinne Manuel - to carry them through the second half.

Manuel saved 10 of Fallston's second-half shots before taking a stick to the chin and leaving the game with a gash that needed stitches. When Manuel left, backup keeper Lauren Howell stepped in and saved the last four Fallston shots.

The Cougars (16-2) pressured Severna Park's defense relentlessly between the 15-minute mark and Manuel's injury with 9:35 to go, but they could not hit the cage.

"I thought we did a great job of pressure on the circle, but we couldn't get that one roll or bounce to put it behind her," Fallston coach Alice Puckett said.

The ball did get past Manuel twice, but defenders Brittany Zorn and Claire Horn were there to make the play.

The Falcons will try to extend their record number of state titles to 16 when they meet Bethesda-Chevy Chase (15-3) in the final Monday at 7 p.m. at the University of Maryland's field hockey and lacrosse complex in College Park.

Severna Park's frequent nemesis, BCC rolled over La Plata, 7-0, in last night's other semifinal and is looking for its 14th title. They meet in the final for the third time in four years.

katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

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