Friday night’s Class 4A/3A state semifinal between Catonsville and Severna Park was the classic battle between one team looking to push the tempo and aggressively attack versus the other slowing down the pace and grinding the game away.
Fortunately for the Falcons, staying patient and chewing up the clock is much more effective—not to mention a lot more fun—when you’re playing with a lead for the majority of the game.
After the Comets took a 5-4 advantage with 7:47 to play in the first half, Severna Park would go on to hold Catonsville scoreless for just over 14 minutes of game time, reeling off seven goals in that span to take a commanding 11-5 lead en route to a 15-10 victory.
Junior midfielder Morgan Torggler paced the Falcons offensively with a team-high four goals. Senior Ally Adams and junior Courtney Wells each chipped with three.
Severna Park (17-2) will take on the winner of Saturday’s other semifinal between Winston Churchill and Westminster.
Trailing 11-5 early on in the second frame, the Comets (17-2) cut the deficit in half with consecutive goals from Jenn Nonn, Brook Stevens and Deb Milani in just under four minutes. But, the Falcons tightened up defensively, became more selective offensively and limited Catonsville to just two scores for the remainder of the game.
“We had a good lead going into the second half and we wanted to get a good start also in the second half,” Severna Park head coach Carin Peterson said. “Once we got that quick start, possession was critical.
“We wanted to take time off the clock and we told the girls, it’s an 85-100 percent chance of getting a goal—if not, you pull it out and take the time off the clock.”
It was that level of discipline that made nearly every Catonsville possession do-or-die down the stretch. After falling behind early, the Comets—who tallied a season low in goals—could ill afford to come away empty on their offensive sets.
“They stopped our fast break—that’s how we score,” Catonsville head coach Becky Clipp said.
“Against a team that holds the ball, you need to capitalize on their mistakes and you need to capitalize when you actually have the ball in your stick. They played a very good game. They are a very disciplined team and I don’t think our team was ready to handle that.”
Clipp also estimated that the Comets first to second half scoring drought was arguably the squad’s longest period without a goal all season.
After falling behind 4-2 early, Peterson elected to use a quick first half timeout to reset her defensive rotation, a decision, she said, factored largely in the Falcons’ success slowing down Catonsville quick hitting attack.
“We weren’t getting the slides where we needed to get the slides so we changed it up a little bit,” Peterson said. “I think [Catonsville] had a little trouble with that.”
Severna Park 15, Catonsville 10
Goals: SP – Torggler 4, Wells 3, Adams 3, Kirk 2, Childress, Lloyd, Bathras.
C – Milani 4, Nonn 2, Stevens 2, Schwaab, Flister.
Assists: SP – Bathras, Adams, Loyd.
C – McDonald.
Saves: SP – Vander Kolk 6, King.
C – Campbell 6.
Half: 9-5, Severna Park.