Broadneck savors `glorious' win over rival

ON HGIH SCHOOLS

October 09, 2007|By MILTON KENT

Jen Parks hopes there are six weeks left in the Broadneck field hockey team's season. That would mean, in addition to plenty of important regular-season games and a possible county championship, the Bruins would be in the hunt for the Class 4A state championship.

In other words, there really shouldn't be any time to dwell on the outcome of any regular-season game. But nothing about Broadneck's 2-1 win over Severna Park in overtime Thursday was regular, and Parks, the Bruins' coach, wasn't about to let the moment fade from memory without letting her team revel in it.

"I was really excited [Friday morning]," Parks said. "I was like, `Oh, my God, we beat Severna Park.' I'm a player. I played here, and we never beat them when I was here. I know the anguish of walking off that field when you've given it your all and you still come away not the victor, even though you feel you've given it everything you have."

The players also basked in the glow of their school's first win over the Falcons since before many of them were born. And the notion that the game ended on a goal by senior Lindsay Mitchell - playing her last game before she left to train at the North American Ice Hockey Academy in Vermont - made it all a tad more surreal.

"I don't think you could write a better ending for a game. It was just unbelievable," senior wing Brigitte Strother said. "It was a bittersweet moment, because we don't want to see her [Mitchell] leave and we don't want to let her go. But there's no better way we could send her off."

It's not like the No. 4 Bruins (9-1, 6-1 in Anne Arundel County) haven't had success over the years. They have state championship banners from 1986 and 2002 to prove that quality field hockey is played at Broadneck.

The trouble is, the school is just down Ritchie Highway from - and often overshadowed by - Severna Park, the 16-time state champion, which until Thursday hadn't lost to Broadneck in 16 years.

Some of those games were crazier than others. Take last year's 1-1 tie, for example. Broadneck's Courtney Tomchik had scored with 48 seconds left in the second half to break a scoreless tie. While the Bruins were celebrating on the offensive end what appeared to be the end of the run of futility against Severna Park, the Falcons grabbed the ball, ran to midfield and were signaled OK to start play.

Severna Park's Ashley Pensyl scored with 28 seconds remaining to tie the score. Neither team scored in the overtime, but the Bruins bitterly protested not only the regulation goal, but also that the Falcons, in their view, were allowed an extra defender in the goal during a penalty corner in overtime.

"We felt like last year we beat them," Parks said. "It's tough to end up walking away with a quote-unquote tie. We lived with that for this year. It was incentive for us going into the game."

Add all that back story to the fact that beating Severna Park likely knocks the Falcons out of contention for a berth in the county title game Oct. 22, and, well, you get the idea that this was no ordinary regular-season win.

"We can kind of sit back and say, `We did it,' " senior back Shannon Hanratty said. "Every year, we worked so hard. We know there's so much talent on that team. This county is huge for [field-hockey] talent. It's just a sigh of relief when you know that everything we've worked for has all paid off. It feels great."

Said Parks: "I've watched the girls for almost 10 years coaching here walk off that field knowing they were this close to victory with them [Severna Park]. This year, we got it. It felt glorious."

Had the season ended there, that would have been the stuff of cheesy sports movies, but there are a couple of more reels left to run on this film.

Assuming the Bruins can get past Northeast at home today and North County on the road Thursday, Broadneck's match next Tuesday with fifth-ranked Chesapeake becomes huge. The Cougars also have beaten Severna Park, which will almost certainly drop from its No. 3 ranking this week. The Broadneck-Chesapeake winner, in all likelihood, will play top-ranked South River on the Seahawks' home field for the county championship the next week.

As if that weren't enough, the fun will begin all over again when the state playoffs begin later that week. The Bruins will venture into the steel-cage match known as the Class 4A East region, where they, South River, Chesapeake, and now Severna Park, which moved up from 3A in the new state realignment, reside.

The winner of the region likely will have to vanquish two state championship-level foes just to get to the state semifinals, a challenge that, on its face, sounds daunting.

But, for Broadneck, with one obstacle out of the way, who's to say the party is over?

milton.kent@baltsun.com

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