Severna Park’s girls lacrosse players did not want their seniors to be one of the few classes to graduate for their school without winning a state championship and that determination showed early in Thursday’s Class 3A state final.
The No. 9 Falcons scored three goals in the first two and a half minutes en route to a 6-0 opening run that fueled a 12-8 victory over No. 11 Towson for a record-tying 15th state championship.
Alyssa Chung scored four goals and Charlotte Diez had three and an assist for the Falcons (17-3), who fell in the title game last season and won their last state championship in 2019.
“With such an awesome team, we couldn’t go through four years of high school without winning a state championship,” senior defender Lilly Spilker said, “because we have such great team chemistry and we just wanted to win it for each other… We wanted to come back and win for the seniors that we lost and for the seniors this year.”
The Anne Arundel County champions finished the season with 12 straight wins and ended an 11-game win streak for the Towson (15-2), which won its only state title in 1997. Their 15th championship ties the record Mount Hebron set in 2007.
“This group was phenomenal,” Severna Park first-year coach Annie Houghton said. “I said this earlier, it is the we, not the me. They constantly work together. All practice is competition. They want to make each other better, but the positive attitude, the seniors stepping up, the underclassmen that are starters — I can say there’s never any issues.”
Diez, a senior attacker, got the Falcons off to the fast start at Stevenson University in Owings Mills, using her blistering first step to get past a defender while coming around the crease. Maria Bragg then fed Regan McDonnell before Diez attacked the same way from the opposite side of the crease to make it 3-0 just 2:25 into the game.
Chung, a junior midfielder, added two more goals and junior attacker Sara Kries scored one to run the lead to 6-0 with 17:06 left in the half.
The Baltimore County champion Generals, who had not played in the state final since 2008, rallied in the second half with three straight goals to cut the lead to 9-6.
Senior midfielder Brigid Vaikness, who scored four goals, netted one with two seconds left in the first half to pull Towson within 9-3 and the momentum carried over.
When Chung picked up a yellow card, Avery Briggs and Lilywynn Holman scored extra-man goals on feeds from Gabi Galvez and Chloe Gibson. Gibson then scored a free-position goal with 17:28 left to pull within 9-6.
The Generals face guarded Chung and Diez at times in the second half, but Chung broke free from her defender near the sideline and cut to goal where McDonnell fed her to snap the run. Twelve seconds later, Bragg raced straight to goal off the draw and Severna Park led, 11-6, with 15:15 left in the game.
Towson’s rally didn’t bother the Falcons much. In the semifinals, No. 12 Westminster led them by two goals in the final 30 seconds, but Diez scored twice to tie and again in overtime for a 13-12 win.
The Falcons knew how to counter the rally.
“We honestly just kept playing our game,” Chung said. “It was two or three goals but it’s like, what’s two or three goals to a team that keeps going? We were rolling downhill. We just had all the momentum and when we had all our players back on the field, it was like, who’s going to stop us?”
Severna Park’s defense of Spilker, Liv Tramontana, Maggie Mullervy and Avery Saviano, swarmed the Generals much of the game, forcing turnovers and making it hard to find openings. Goalie Allison Shiavone made four saves.
“Their defense was definitely really good,” Vaikness said of the Falcons’ man-to-man. “I think our turnovers kind of got us. Nerves. We’ve never been to the state championship before, so that might have been the cause. I think it was a good game played by both teams.”
Towson coach Taylor Carhart said early in the season that she thought the Generals could make a deep run in the playoffs. Their only two losses came against state champions, Severna Park and No. 10 Broadneck, which won its third straight Class 4A title Wednesday night.
“Severna Park’s been here before and they had experience and that helps a lot,” Carhart said. “When you get down six goals, although we’ve fought our way out of it before, it’s hard vs. a very experienced, skilled team like Severna Park.
“We had an incredible season … and if we’re going to lose a game, I’m going to lose to the state champions, so they’re a very skilled team, all credit to them, but I’m nothing but proud of my team… They didn’t give up. We scored the last goal. That’s all a coach can ask for.”
CLASS 3A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
at Stevenson University
NO. 9 SEVERNA PARK 12, NO. 11 TOWSON 8
SEVERNA PARK 9 3 — 12
TOWSON 3 5 — 8
GOALS: SP—Alyssa Chung 4, Charlotte Diez 3, Regan McDonnell 2, Sara Kreis, Stella Bordone, Maria Bragg; T—Brigid Vaikness 5, Avery Briggs, Gabi Galvez, Lilywynn Holman.
ASSISTS: SP—Maria Bragg, Alyssa Chung, Charlotte Diez, Regan McDonnell; T—Chloe Gibson 2, Gabi Galvez
SAVES: SP—Allison Shiaone 4; T—Meghan Cottrell 0, Lucy Buttarazzi 3.