Nothing came easy for either team in the 3A boys lacrosse state championship game on Thursday.
Goals were at a premium, and in the end, the reigning champions won it on defense and discipline.
Severna Park rallied from a second-half deficit and survived a late push from Mount Hebron to win 9-8, securing yet another state title.
The victory came in a rematch of both the 2022 state championship game and an Anne Arundel County-Howard County crossover match earlier this season, both won by Severna Park.
“These kinds of games are super fun to play in and be a part of,” said Severna Park senior Alex Stroble, who had a goal and two assists. “They’re a really good team, and we knew it was going to be a battle.”
Underscoring their mutual respect, standout players from both teams exchanged congratulations and praise long after the handshake line had ended and the medals and trophies were handed out.
Jack Fish led Severna Park with four goals, while Tim Sullivan scored twice. Tucker Moran had a goal and an assist. John Burkhardt also found the net. Nolan Grizzle assisted on one of Fish’s goals.
Severna Park built an early 4-1 lead but conceded five of the next six goals, falling behind midway through the third quarter. But when the Falcons got a run of man-up situations in the second half, they cashed in three times to break a 6-6 deadlock, handing over a three-goal lead to their defense.
Though it proved a healthy enough lead to win, preserving victory was far from easy. Mount Hebron mustered one last frantic rally, scoring with a little more than a minute left to get to within 9-8 and then creating several scoring opportunities in the dying seconds. Severna Park goalie Ashby Shepherd rejected the next shot, one of his nine saves, and sent it toward the sideline boundary.
“There’s 20 seconds left, and it’s all on you, because you’re the one between him and the goal,” Shepherd said. “You don’t hear the crowd, you don’t hear anything. It’s just you and him, and I locked eyes with him. I knew I had to stand my ground.”
Instead of letting the ball run out of play to stop the clock, defender Talan Livingston dived and swatted the ball another 10 yards away from goal, keeping it in play to both drain precious seconds from the few remaining and allow his defense to regroup for the final onslaught.
“Talan has been making those plays for a long time … I thought our defense did a great job all night,” said Severna Park coach Dave Earl. “Any time you give up less than 10 goals, your defense has done its job.”
In the final sequence, Shepherd made another save and two more desperation attempts were deflected en route. After the final deflection, the ball skittered toward the corner as time expired, and the Falcons poured onto the field to celebrate the newest triumph of the state’s most successful lacrosse program.
The win gave the Falcons their seventh consecutive state championship — a new Maryland record — and extended the program’s existing state-record title haul to 12.