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  • Kate Bray and the Severna Park field hockey team are in good form so far this season, having posted an 8-0 record through the end of September.
    Photo by Colin Murphy
    Kate Bray and the Severna Park field hockey team are in good form so far this season, having posted an 8-0 record through the end of September.

Severna Park Field Hockey Enters October Undefeated

Colin Murphy
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October 2, 2017

The Severna Park field hockey team received exciting news moments before its September 26 matchup with Old Mill at Kinder Park: Lil Shelton, who founded the program in 1975 and steered the Falcons to a record 20 state championships in her 36-year tenure as head coach, was going to be in the stands, watching the Falcons play against her granddaughter, who plays for the Patriots.

The Falcons were eyeing a win anyway, but it didn’t hurt having field hockey royalty on hand to see them power past Old Mill 4-0 and run their record to 8-0 on the season.

“She created field hockey at Severna Park, and it’s such a legacy, so for her to come to our games, it’s really great,” said senior defender Rachel Lewis.

Lila Slattery, Emme Sayers, Hayley Blachley and Paige Cummings scored to lift the Falcons’ afternoon, which displayed the swift passing and relentless attacking that have characterized Severna Park’s unbeaten start to the season.

“I think we’re really focused on keeping our intensity and being dynamic, which really helps us,” said Sayers, a junior. “We’ve been working on our passing patterns, and they’ve been working for us well, moving across the field and down the field fast and efficiently. Definitely connecting our passes and dodging, we’re working on it in practice, and we seem to be executing well in games.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Severna Park field hockey vs. Old Mill

Sound game execution has yielded a handful of quality wins. The Falcons defeated IAAM power St. Paul’s 4-1 in the previous week, getting goals from Sayers, Slattery, Bella Blumenberg and Ashley Bellotte. Sayers tallied a brace in a 2-1 win over Arundel on September 13, and Severna Park has beaten both of its Howard County opponents, Marriotts Ridge and Glenelg. Slattery, Bellotte and Delaney Ott scored in the 3-2 win over Glenelg, and Ott and Alex Miller scored in a 2-1 win over Marriotts Ridge in the season opener. The Falcons also notched a pair of wins at Chesapeake’s play day on September 9, getting goals from Slattery and Hayley Blachley in a 2-1 win over the reigning 3A champion Cougars and goals from Blachley and Ott in a 2-0 win over Patuxent, 1A state semifinalists a season ago.

Lewis, Slattery, Sayers and Blumenberg scored goals and Megan Brannen had two assists in a 4-0 win over Annapolis on September 27 as Severna Park moved to 9-0 on the year.

Competition will get stiffer with the forthcoming drop in temperatures. Severna Park faces South River and Broadneck back-to-back in the first week of October.

“We are a little over halfway through [the season] and still working out some kinks,” said head coach Ann Andrews, adding that the group is doing a good job balancing its work ethic with enjoying the journey. “I think what would surprise most people if they saw us practice and what a relaxed environment it is. The girls work very hard and are focused, but they laugh a lot too. We are just focusing on one game at a time and what we need to do each day to grow as a team.”

The win over Old Mill, with Shelton in attendance, gave the Falcons a special opportunity to do just that.

“It was so wonderful to have Lil there [against Old Mill],” said Andrews, who took over for Shelton after the 2011 season and has since added to the program’s reign over the state, with 4A titles in 2013, 2014 and 2015. “When I saw the car pull up, I pulled the team [together] and told them a good day for a game just turned into a great day. When I told them Lil was there, they were so excited too. They wanted to play exceptionally well to make her proud.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Severna Park field hockey vs. Old Mill


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