Attacker Charlotte Diez said her Severna Park lacrosse team didn’t have a specific play planned for overtime in Friday night’s Class 3A state semifinal against Westminster, so when she had her chance, she took it.
Diez cradled the ball behind the goal, looking for something to open up and then two Westminster defenders stepped to their marks, anticipating a pass. The senior flew around the right side of the crease and shot past goalie Naomi Allen’s outstretched stick 1:21 into overtime to give the No. 9 Falcons a 13-12 comeback victory at Crofton High School.
“So surreal,” she said. “I was like, ‘Wow, this is not real.’ I froze. It was like, ‘Oh my goodness.’ It was so awesome seeing everyone rush in.”
The Falcons (16-3) rallied from five goals down in the first half and four at the break. Diez, who scored four goals, tied the game with two goals in the final 27.2 seconds.
“Charlotte has some of the best footwork and stickwork and she’s a finisher,” said Falcons coach Annie Houghton, “She came up clutch today and I could not be more proud of her. Her shots were amazing. She had patience and placed the ball. She did everything perfect that she could have done.”
Second-seeded Severna Park will play for a record-tying 15th state championship next week against the winner of Saturday’s semifinal between No. 11 and top-seeded Towson and fourth-seeded Linganore. The state finals are scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at Stevenson University at times to be determined.
The Falcons won their last state title in Class 4A in 2019, the same year Westminster (12-6) won its last state title in Class 3A.
The sixth-seeded Owls won 12 of 15 draws in the first half and found plenty of holes in the Falcons’ defense with assists on four of their nine goals.
After Severna Park took a 2-1 lead on Regan McDonnell’s goal about four minutes into the game, the Owls scored eight of the next 11 goals. After Jess Kent fed Brinley Tozer for a goal with two minutes left in the half, Westminster led, 9-5.
The Falcons didn’t waste time turning the momentum after the break. Westminster won the first draw, but the Falcons forced a turnover and Alyssa Chung converted Stella Bordone and McDonnell added goals to cut the lead to 9-8 with 18:29 left.
The defense of Lilly Spilker, Liv Tramontana, Maggie Mullervy and Avery Saviano shut out the Owls for the first 13:48 of the half. Those holes in the defense became much harder for the Owls to find.
Spilker said the Falcons tried double teaming Tozer, who scored all four of her goals in the first half, but it wasn’t working and they also struggled to stay in front of the feeds to Owls cutting down the middle.
“In the second half, I went on to [Tozer],” Spilker said, “and our other girls were just doing a really good job staying on cutters. We started talking a lot more and sending slides early, because we kind of got the hang of how their offense worked with more cutting than driving from the top… and I think we relaxed a little bit because we were pretty frazzled at the begging when they got the lead.”
Still, the Owls led until the final 30 seconds.
Kent made a great cut and finished a pass from Kate McAlonan for a 10-8 lead with 11:12 to go. The Falcons pulled within one twice on goals from Chung and McDonnell, but Riley Ebersole and McDonnell answered those giving the Owls a 12-10 edge with 1:20 left.
While the Owls dominated the draw early, Severna Park won the last three, leading to Diez’s final three goals.
The Falcons are all the more determined to win the title this spring after Marriotts Ride upset them, 11-10, in last year’s title game on a goal with 55 seconds left.
“I think all the seniors were like, we don’t want to leave without a ring,” Diez said, “so I think we really pushed it the last 30 seconds. We kept our heads up. A lot of times, we would have our heads down and be like there’s no way we can score three goals in 30 seconds, but we stayed in it and we just believed.”
The Owls defeated No. 14 Mount Hebron, 16-7, in the regional final after the Vikings upset defending champion Marriotts Ridge in the regional semifinals. They attacked the Falcons with a strong game plan, but couldn’t quite handle the Falcons’ halftime adjustments.
“It was a fantastic game,” Owls coach Tori McDonald said. “We were rolling in the first half. There were some lulls and in lacrosse, it’s tough when you have a lull and the other team has a run. In those circumstances, all that we could do was dig deep and give our best. There’s not a question in my mind that our girls put forth their best effort for the full game… Man, what a game and we’re going to come back stronger for it.”
Severna Park’s boys had a way much easier time in its semifinal with Chopticon of St. Mary’s Countyy. The Falcons scored 14 seconds into regulation and kept scoring in a 23-4 decision.
Severna Park (13-4) will play Frederick County’s Linganore or Mount Hebron, Thursday at 6 p.m. at Stevenson University’s Mustang Stadium for the 3A state title. Linganore and Mount Hebron meet Saturday afternoon at Paint Branch in Montgomery County in the other 3A state semifinal.
After needing a fourth quarter rally to turn away Towson in the quarterfinals Wednesday, the Falcons had 12 players scored Friday, led by Jack Fish. The sophomore attack whose fourth quarter hat trick helped Severna Park to a 8-5 victory Wednesday, went for seven tallies Friday.
Daniel Stack, Tim Sullivan, John Burkhardt, Andrew Myers, Benjamin Ruppert, Daniel Stack and Tim Sullivan each added two goals for the Falcons, who will attempt for a record seventh consecutive state title Thursday.
“We just came out with energy,” said Severna Park coach Dave Earl, whose team has won 34 straight postseason decisions. “We maybe didn’t have the same energy (against Towson) until the fourth quarter, but we were able to capture that and put it out on the field tonight.”
CLASS 3A STATE SEMIFINAL
NO. 9 SEVERNA PARK 13, NO. 12 WESTMINSTER 12 OT
Westminster 9 3 0 — 12
Severna Park 5 7 1 — 13
GOALS: W—Brinley Tozer 4, Kate McAlonan 3, Jess Kent 2, Riley Ebersole 2, Emma Youngling; SP—Charlotte Diez 4, Regan McDonnell 4, Alyssa Chung 2, Maria Bragg, Sophia Miller, Stella Bordone.
ASSISTS: W—Kate McAlonan 3, Jess Kent 2; SP—Alyssa Chung 2, Sophia Miller.
SAVES: W—Naomi Allen 2; SP—Allison Schiavone 4.