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Chemistry, Defense Lead SP Field Hockey Into New Season

Dave Topp
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September 7, 2017

If recent history is any indicator, last year’s field hockey season ended unusually early for Severna Park High School. The team will look to correct that this fall.

After three straight Maryland 4A state championships, the Falcons were upended last November, 1-0 in overtime, by South River in the 4A East region final.

“One loss doesn’t define us as a program,” said head coach Ann Andrews, entering her sixth season in charge. “We try to deemphasize it. It’s a new team every year, and the dynamic in the county changes every year.”

This year’s squad will feature 11 seniors that bring plenty of experience and leadership along with them.

“The entire senior class has a leadership role,” Andrews said. “They all contribute in different ways.”

Spearheading that group of seniors will be defender Mallary Sellars and forward Megan Brannen.

“I think we have great team chemistry,” Brannen said.

Seniors Celia Krohn and Madison Nutter will handle the goalkeeping responsibilities. Joining Sellars on defense will be fellow seniors Kyra Feick, Olivia Hubbart, Abbey Miller and Alaina Zborai.

Sporting an upperclassman-heavy roster, Severna Park will also carry 12 juniors this season, and both Andrews and Sellars spoke about the bond between the senior and junior class on this year’s team.

“Our team has really been clicking,” Sellars said. “We don’t want to keep our minds on the past. We want to go onward. Especially during the summer, everyone showed up to workouts.”

It’s that strengthened chemistry that will be relied on to connect a veteran defense with a younger attacking unit. The Falcons tallied just 39 goals last season, a number that looks low, but Andrews believes high-scoring days in Anne Arundel County may be a thing of the past as every team has gotten stronger in recent seasons.

“I don’t know if we’ll ever see a season with 70 goals again,” she added.

Brannen is still confident that the offense will connect this year. Along with Brannen, seniors Ashley Bellotte, Paige Cummings and Rachel Lewis will look to provide that scoring spark for the Falcons.

“Since we have such a strong backfield, we’re looking to transfer that up to our offensive line, especially on corners [with] finishing and converting,” Brannen said.

Andrews cites the rise in talent across the county, as the county landscape in field hockey has become more level in recent years. Broadneck and South River bring talented teams to the field just about every season. Chesapeake won the 3A state championship last season. Arundel and Annapolis have both made strides over the last few years as well.

“The level in the county has gotten stronger and stronger,” Andrews said.

Severna Park, which holds a record 23 state titles, will look to get back on track and once again be a primary contender come playoff time.

“It’s nice to have history on our side, but a lot of times it works against us,” said Andrews. “They focus too much on the pressure of that history and upholding it. Nobody wants to be the team that didn’t do it. We really work hard to deemphasize it.”

At times, the focus can be too much on the end goal and less about the task ahead. Sellars and the other seniors are ready to correct that.

“Last year we focused lot on our ending, so this year we’re collectively focusing on one game at a time,” added Sellars. “I think we’re all on the same page. We all want the same thing.”


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