“You can’t replicate a penalty kick shootout in practice,” first-year Severna Park coach Rick Stimpson said.
After falling to Whitman in last year’s Maryland 4A semifinals, the Falcons (15-3-2) knew they could make another postseason run this season with eight starters back from last year and 13 seniors on their roster.
Severna Park overcame challenges to reach its first state title match since 2011. The Falcons handed South River its first loss in their regional championship. In the semifinals last week, Severna Park beat Churchill in penalty kicks after tying at one score apiece.
Severna Park posted 12 shutouts this season and gave up multiple goals on just one occasion. Perry Hall’s defense also been strong this year, recording shutouts in four games this postseason.
Opportunities were hard to come by Friday as the teams went scoreless through a pair of overtimes.
“Obviously the stakes were pretty high,” Severna Park defender Lena McLaughlin said. “Coming so close from last year, this really felt like our opportunity. There was obviously a lot of intensity and a lot of nerves but also a lot of excitement.”
In penalty kicks, the teams traded goals through two rounds. But Severna Park missed its third penalty kick, and Perry Hall defender Caroline Warns took advantage with a goal. Moments later, forward Erin Marciszewski clinched the win for Perry Hall (13-6).
Perry Hall’s students chanted “back-to-back” as the Gators claimed their second consecutive Maryland 4A title.
Stimpson told his players they would need to play well and have luck to win a state title.
On Friday, Stimpson felt his team performed, but it didn’t have the luck that he felt was on Perry Hall’s side.
“This was a great way to end the season,” Severna Park goalkeeper Katie Byrd said. “We didn’t get the result we wanted, but this was just a great level of intensity. It was just exciting to get here.”