An undefeated season was on the line and a scoreless tie still showed on the scoreboard last Thursday. For the entire first half and well into the second, the Severna Park girls' soccer team was held scoreless by Broadneck, but not for lack of effort. The Falcons controlled the first half offensively, pressuring the Broadneck defense to the point where it often failed to clear the ball, even on goal kicks.
The second half was better for the Bruins, as they pressured more often, but still the Falcons had opportunities they didn't convert, watching as balls sailed into the arms of the Bruins' goalkeeper, over the goal or against a post. But with 7 minutes 19 seconds to go, Severna Park junior forward Emily Zido placed the ball to the left of the Bruins rushing keeper and into the goal, breaking the tie for a 1-0 win.
"That one probably got us the most excited so far," said junior forward Sam Young. "It was an emotional game because it was senior night and it was Broadneck. It's always been a good rivalry with Broadneck."
"It was a very emotional game all the way around for all the kids involved," Severna Park Coach Gary Lam said. "It meant a lot to the kids. They invested a lot into it."
There's a good chance things could get even more exciting for the No. 2 Falcons. They entered this week 11-0-2, preparing to play for the county championship today and regain the county crown they relinquished after the 2003 season -- Severna Park was knocked out of the county title match last season when, because of a three-way tie, a coin toss determined the title game teams.
"It feels great" to be in the title game, said senior midfielder Kiley Williams. "This was one of our goals, but we still have to win."
With three consecutive region championships and two of the last three 3A state titles, a county crown isn't the only title the Falcons are hunting this postseason. Lam thinks his players can challenge once again for regional and state honors.
It's "our goal every year" to compete for the state title, Lam said. "I don't think you give yourself a chance to get there if you don't think you can do it. You don't go in with an arrogant attitude, but know what work is ahead of you and know what breaks we're going to need. I feel we have what it takes to compete."
The cornerstone of this year's success, according to Lam, has been the hard work the team has put in throughout the season. Some of the girls think so, too.
"We came together as a team, not just a group of individuals," Williams said. "We work hard together. This year we didn't think we'd be doing as good as we have. Everyone has been telling us this would be our rebuilding year [because of the graduation of key players Melissa Loureiro and Kate Laukhart]. But we've been working hard, so it's been a successful season for us."
Playing against Severna Park in the county championship game at Arundel High School at 5:15 p.m. will either be Arundel or Chesapeake, depending on the outcome of games Tuesday night that ended too late for this edition.
On the boys' side, Arundel will host Broadneck in the county championship at 7:15 p.m., a matchup Broadneck got the best of earlier in the season. "They're an outstanding team," said Broadneck Coach Sean Tettemer. "I think they're going to give us everything they have. . . . We were very fortunate to win 3-1 [earlier this season]. I thought it was an evenly played game."
Broadneck fell to Severna Park in overtime, 2-1, and lost to Bowie, 3-0, this week. Tettemer rested several key players against Bowie.