CHESTERTOWN, Md. — The slogan came to Severna Park during a team breakfast Saturday, the morning of the Maryland 4A state field hockey final. The Falcons were talking about the mind-set they wanted to bring to the game. They settled on “do more, work harder.”
When the team took the field at Washington College to face undefeated Wootton, each of the Severna Park players had that phrase written on her hand. Some taped it to their sticks. The instructive motto paid dividends, as the Falcons kept pressure on the Patriots with quick passes, fluid stick skills and corner plays for a 4-1 win and the 21st state title in program history.
“They wanted this. They were very hungry,” said second-year Coach Ann Andrews, who earned her first state championship. “The seniors have led this team the entire season and they’ve been very focused on this goal.”
It took less than two minutes for junior Jessica Valvano to score on Wootton — a feat that only four other teams managed all season. The Falcons put in the next three in the final seven minutes of the first half off a converted corner from Maeve Doherty, a goal from Eva Klaus off an inside pass and another goal from Valvano.
Dani Averill and the Patriots’ defense held Severna Park (13-3-1) scoreless in the second half, and forward Allie Band prevented the shutout with a push around Mata with 9 minutes 40 seconds left in the game.
“The Wootton team that we know came out in the second half,” Coach Kearney Blandamer said. “Maybe coming here for the first time shook us up for a little bit, but that will never happen again. We now know that this is the goal and the expectation and we will never feel that again. They put just three more balls in the box today, that’s all, but that should never, ever define the inroads that these girls made this season.”
Severna Park has the most state titles of any high school program in the country, but the Falcons missed the state tournament last season for the first time since 2002.
Another catchphrase for the Falcons in the postseason became “earn tomorrow,” Doherty and co-captain Sydney Jolliffe said. They knew their season — and the Severna Park careers of six senior leaders — would either end as soon as they lost or with another championship.
“The feeling is indescribable,” Doherty said. “It’s all I could have ever asked for in a senior season. We wanted this ever since we lost last year. We wanted that feeling so bad.”