Some said Chesapeake needed more than a sound game plan heading into its game with then-No. 1 Severna Park on Sept. 22. The Cougars practically needed an exorcism.

For 27 years, Chesapeake had never won a game against the Anne Arundel County powerhouse, a lopsided rivalry that helped Severna Park develop an aura of invincibility.

Chesapeake Coach Melissa Page didn't buy into any of that. She had, after all, played for Severna Park from 1992 to 1995. So in an attempt to instill some confidence in her players , she showed tape of a Severna Park game and pointed out the areas in which the Chesapeake players could compete.

The result was a 4-3 victory for the Cougars (6-2). A year after losing 5-1 to the Falcons, Chesapeake came back from a 1-0 deficit, and when Severna Park knotted the score at 3 late in the game, sophomore Nikki Rice fired back with the winner.

"Last year we played Severna Park and we were down 1-0 for 45 minutes," Page said. "Once it was 2-0, [the Chesapeake players] gave up. This year they just fought. They all see themselves as equals."

-- Andrew Levine