Broadneck’s No. 1 field hockey team expected a tough challenge from top Anne Arundel County rival Severna Park Tuesday night. After rolling past the opposition by an average of more than six goals, the host Bruins welcomed the test.
The No. 8 Falcons threatened early and battled until the final minutes when Bruins forward Arden Hunteman scored off a crossing pass from Maya Everett for a 3-1 lead that held up for the Broadneck victory.
“We absolutely need this,” Hunteman said. “It’s one thing to beat everyone by a good margin, but to have this competition and still win by two, it’s a big confidence boost. This was the competition we needed. It was intense. It was a fun game to play and I hope it was a fun game to watch.”
The Bruins (11-0, 5-0 county) spilt their regular-season meetings with Severna Park last season, but fell in the state quarterfinals, 1-0 on a penalty stroke. The Falcons went on to win the Class 4A championship.
This year, the Bruins, ranked No. 25 nationally by MAX Field Hockey, are aiming for their first state title in 20 years, but they’re not thinking that far ahead.
Hunteman admitted the Bruins were a bit nervous about playing Severna Park (7-4, 4-1). The rivalry ramps up the intensity even more in a tight game and it was close until the senior’s goal gave the Bruins a bit of breathing room for the final 5:51.
“We need challenges to see what we’re made of,” Broadneck coach Shannon Hanratty said, “and I think tonight was a good challenge, but we also expected it to be a good challenge. We weren’t shocked by how hard they played, we weren’t shocked by what they could do, because we know they’re capable of it, so we just kind of rolled with it and tried to stick to our game plan.”
The Falcons threatened right away with a penalty corner just 25 seconds into the game, but the Bruins fought that off and put the pressure on Severna Park for much of the rest of the first quarter.
Katelyn Kearns scored for the Bruins with 1:06 left in the quarter after picking off a Falcons pass.
“I read their eyes, so I knew they were going to pass it there, so I just tried to get my body there,” said the sophomore forward. “Then I grabbed it and I tried to cut the defender off and just pull right around to the goalie and score.”
Throughout the game, Kearns and Hunteman used their speed to pressure Severna Park’s defense and force errant passes, including a handful that rolled out of bounds for turnovers. Hunteman’s pressure helped Kearns pick off the pass that led to her goal.
The Bruins made it 2-0 on a penalty corner late in the second quarter. Everett passed the ball from the top of the circle to Hunteman on the left. She fired toward the cage where Zoe Bjelac, deflected the ball past Severna Park goalie Charlotte Kramer.
Early in the third quarter, the Falcons took a couple of shots on a corner, but Bruins goalie Mia Moody, who finished with five saves, stopped both.
In the fourth quarter, however, the Falcons got the jump on Broadneck’s defense and Kelsey Rowe scored on a fast break to pull within 2-1 with 11:48 left.
“It was good because they fought back,” Hanratty said, “and we still had to have composure and we still had to execute our own skills to hold on and secure the win.”
The Falcons had a couple more chances to tie the game with back-to-back penalty corners, starting with 9:51 to go, but Bruins defender Chloe Page blocked the only shot.
Severna Park’s defense, led by Ava Drexler-Amey and Kramer with 11 saves, held the Bruins scoreless for more than 28 minutes before Hunteman added her insurance goal.
Despite the loss, Severna Park coach Shannon Garden was pleased with how hard her team fought in what is the only regular-season meeting with Broadneck this fall although they could meet again in the state playoffs.
“We’re starting to believe in ourselves a little bit more,” Garden said. “Anything can happen and we can still get back in it. We knew they were going to score on us. They had so many good players and we talked a lot about not giving up if they scored on us and I think they did a good job of that. We’re going to make some adjustments and just keep moving forward.”
NO. 1 BROADNECK 3, NO. 8 SEVERNA PARK 1
SP 0 0 0 1 — 1
B 1 1 0 1 — 3
GOALS: SP—Kelsey Rowe; B—Katelyn Kearns, Zoe Bjelac, Arden Hunteman.
ASSISTS: SP—none; B—Arden Hunteman, Maya Everett.
SAVES: SP —Charlotte Kramer 11; B—Mia Moody 5.