Delaney Ott flung her stick to the ground and held her arms open wide. The Severna Park goalkeeper had just finished her high school career with a 10-5 victory over Dulaney in the Maryland 4A championship game, and now she waited for an entire lacrosse team to meet her embrace.
Ott’s teammates swarmed her one by one until the mob toppled over, a heap of champions on the turf.
“I was just, ‘Finally, my team’s running toward me. Finally, we can win one.’ ” Ott said.
The No. 9 Falcons (19-1) reached that joyous moment with a composed, confident performance Wednesday night at Paint Branch. They had already scored a win over the Lions earlier this season, during tournament play back in mid-April. That 20-6 victory provided a blueprint for Wednesday’s triumph, proof that a title could be won if they just played their game.
“It’s good and bad. It’s nice knowing who we’re going up against and their strengths and weaknesses, but it’s also, ‘Can we do it again?’ ” fifth-year coach Kaitlyn Hines said.
This is the program’s 14th state title but first since 2015. No player on the team’s current roster had experienced the ecstasy of a championship. But they did know what it’s like to lose one after a last-second defeat against Bel Air in the 2017 title game.
“Just turning around and hearing the cheering, seeing the ball in the net in the last 11 seconds really fuels your fire,” senior midfielder Hunter Chadwick said. “For last year and this year.”
The Falcons got off to a quick start on offense, building a 3-0 lead in the first five minutes. Their scoring run was built on defense, as every futile possession from Dulaney (12-7) seemed to turn into a carefully-created look at goal on the other end. The trend continued into the second half, with Ott earning nine saves on the night.
“We just know we’re going to be able to clear it out,” Ott said. “It’s really helpful to know that you can rely on everyone else.”
Severna Park got a scare with four minutes remaining in the first half when Chadwick went down with an injury. The senior entered Wednesday’s game with 61 goals and had already scored two before she fell to the ground clutching her ankle. She sat out the remainder of the first half but returned in the second, showing a slight limp but still helping to orchestrate the team’s three goals after the break.
“Everyone has wanted to win since our sophomore year when we lost,” Chadwick said. “It’s just been a chip on our shoulder. So I really just said it doesn’t matter about the pain. Keep going so we can win.”