In such a low-scoring game as Tuesday night's state Class 4A-3A girls lacrosse final, it would be easy to pick out a handful of critical moments. For No. 5 Severna Park, none was more important than a short second-half stretch in which goalie Sarah Lloyd made two terrific saves to preserve a tie and put the Falcons in position to win their third straight title, 7-5, over No. 15 Westminster at UMBC Stadium.
After the Owls' Ashleigh Rohrback tied the score at five minutes into the second half, Lloyd, a converted midfielder who finished with 10 saves, made two big ones and the Owls hit the post once.
On their next possession, the Owls turned the ball over, and Anna Patterson answered with a free-position goal with 14:47 to go. Just 31 seconds later, Kathleen Barranco made it 7-5.
"I think it was critical that they never took the lead, so our confidence was good," Falcons defender Lelan Bailey said. "Because Sarah's back there, all her saves give us confidence."
Falcons coach Carin Peterson's defense did a terrific job on the speedy offense of the Owls, holding them way below their 17.9-goal season average. Four of the Owls' goals came on free-position shots.
Westminster (16-2) played equally strong defense, but the Owls' offense had more trouble getting through the Falcons' defense in the second half after Severna Park did a better job marking in front of the cutters through the 8-meter arc. The Falcons (16-3) held Westminster scoreless for the final 20:30.
The Owls didn't have quite the strength of schedule that the Falcons had this season, which coach Jackie Stevens said hurt her team, but she also said she was proud of their effort.
"It just comes down to possession," Stevens said of the final 14 minutes. "They put the stall tactic on, and they wasted the clock. We were trying to double down on defense, but it just came down to possession."