Broadneck has been exceptionally good at field hockey this fall. At coin flips? Not so much.
After losing the tie-breaking coin flip for the top-seeded spot in the regional playoffs, the unbeaten No. 1 Bruins lost the flip earlier this week for the top spot in the state quarterfinals. Still another coin flip at the bottom of the bracket landed defending state champion Severna Park seventh, setting up Friday night’s quarterfinals showdown between the Anne Arundel County rivals.
The Bruins admitted to being a bit nervous about facing the No. 6 Falcons, especially after losing to them in last year’s quarterfinal, but revenge provided extra motivation for a quick start. Goals from Arden Hunteman and Jess Kopernick in the first three minutes sent the Bruins on their way to a 3-1 victory.
The quest for their first state championship in 20 years continues for the Bruins (18-0) as they advance to Wednesday’s state semifinals. They will meet Walt Whitman, a 2-1 winner over Urbana, at 7:30 p.m. at Paint Branch High School in Burtonsville. The Class 4A state championship is scheduled for Nov. 12 at 11 a.m. at Stevenson University in Owings Mills.
Hunteman said the Bruins weren’t thrilled to draw the 25-time state champion Falcons (11-7) in the first round of states, but they were pretty sure that to win the title, they would have to beat Severna Park at some point.
“Why not get it out of the way?” she said with a laugh.
It only took Hunteman a little over a minute to put the Broadneck on the board. A pass bounced over a defender’s stick in the circle to Hunteman, who turned with the ball and shot it into the left corner.
“We knew we had to be sharp from the beginning,” Broadneck coach Shannon Hanratty said. “That was our goal and we couldn’t have done any better than getting that first goal from Arden. That was exactly what we needed to go for it.”
Hunteman set up the next goal with a pass from the crowded middle of the circle to Koperick on her left. The senior midfielder shot across the goal into the far corner out of reach of diving Severna Park goalie Charlotte Kramer, who finished with 16 saves. The Bruins led 2-0 with 12:04 left in the first quarter.
“It was full circle,” Hunteman said. “We played SP in the quarterfinals last year and we lost (1-0) off a stroke. We went into that game — we were scared of course — but we had a young, talented team last year as well and we thought we would go farther and it got shut down, so to be in the quarterfinals 365 days later and do it again and have a different outcome, it’s so fun especially in our senior year.”
The Bruins, ranked No. 25 nationally and No. 3 in the Mid-Atlantic region by MAX Field Hockey, have dominated this fall, outscoring their opponents, 103-11. They have 11 wins over VSN/Baltimore Banner Top 15 teams.
Severna Park (11-7) has been one of few opponents to challenge them. Broadneck also took a 2-0 lead in the Oct. 11 regular-season game, but the Falcons rebounded and stayed within 2-1 for much of the second half until Hunteman’s late goal sealed a 3-1 win.
Friday, the Bruins boosted their lead to 3-0 when Faith Everett intercepted a pass at the edge of the circle and fired the ball into the far corner with 13:22 left in the first half.
After that, the Falcons had plenty of scoring chances, but struggled to finish thanks to the defense of Zoe Bjelac, Safiyah Stimely and Emily Ernst and goalie Mia Moody, who had 11 saves, some of them terrific one-on-one efforts. Defensive midfielders Mady Quigley and Chloe Page also stopped a lot of Severna Park drives before they could get into the circle.
“The five of them, and six including Mia, they were just so solid tonight,” Hanratty said. “The way that they handled the ball and transferred the ball and they were patient on possession. It allowed us to be calm and composed.”
The Falcons scored with 6:21 left in the fourth quarter when Ava Drexler-Amey deflected a drive from Meredith Schepens past Moody.
“Once we settled down and started playing our game, it went pretty well,” said Severna Park coach Shannon Garden. “The second half was ours, but you can’t let a good team get ahead of you that early — and they’re a great team. No doubt in my mind that team’s going to win the state championship.”
CLASS 4A STATE FIELD HOCKEY QUARTERFINAL
NO. 1 BROADNECK 3, NO. 6 SEVERNA PARK 1
SP 0 0 0 1 — 1
BR 2 1 0 0 — 3
GOALS: SP—Ava Drexler-Amey; BR—Arden Hunteman, Jess Kopernick, Faith Everett.
ASSISTS: SP—Meredith Schepens; BR—Arden Hunteman.
SAVES: SP—Charlotte Kramer 16; BR—Mia Moody 11.