At the end of the season last year, the Severna Park field hockey team stood on the field at Washington College in Chestertown, MD, on top of the world—victorious over Bethesda-Chevy Chase in the Maryland 4A state championship.
Coach Lil Shelton had just earned her 20th state championship and the programs 20th—a state record. The Falcons finished the season 17-2 earning their eighth title in the last 11 years.
About a year later, the Falcons enter the playoffs with a record of 10-3, but without Shelton.
The team will start postseason action on Thursday when the Falcons take on Arundel in Severna Park, but it is Ann Andrews who will lead the way.
“I’m nervous; it has been one of those season too, because all the teams are strong and everything just takes a lot more work,” Andrews said. “I think we are all a little nervous.”
Severna Park enters the MPSSAA playoffs with a No. 4 seed and will face No.5 Arundel in the first round. The Falcons played Arundel on Sept. 11 and came away with a 2-1 victory. But Andrews knows that victory doesn’t mean anything come gametime on Thursday.
“Well it was a really close game last time we played them and Arundel has had a really strong season,” Andrews said. “They all need to show up on Thursday and understand it is a big game and know it is not going to be something that is a given. In the past we have had a higher seed, so going in at a four is going to be harder.”
Throughout the season, the Falcons split the two-game series with Broadneck, and suffered two loses to South River. Looking ahead, should Severna Park and South River both earn victories in the first two games, the two teams would meet in the region final on Oct. 31.
“I know the girls would love to have another shot at them,” Andrews said. “They were both really close games this season. The first time South River scored on a corner at the end, which was a mistake on our part. The second time we lost in overtime, on probably the best goal scored all season by any team. It was so beautiful.”
Still, Andrews said the team will need to focus on one game at a time and make sure they play the entirety of the game. Andrews also commented that the Falcons will need to capitalize on other teams mistakes in order to be successful.
At the seasons end last year the Falcons may have ended up on top—this year, at least for now, Andrews said they are just focusing on Arundel. And will worry about the rest as it comes.
“I am sure it is all in the back of their minds,” Andrews said. “But right now they need to focus on Arundel. It would be a mistake to look past these first two teams.”
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