Severna Park’s accomplishments are a source of pride for the school’s field hockey coach, Shannon Garden. The Falcons have been able to faze even the steadiest opponents in recent years.
Severna Park won Class 4A state championships in 2019 and 2021.
The Falcons were great again this season, advancing to the Class 3A state semifinals.
But Mount Hebron of Howard County dashed the Falcons’ chances for a return trip to the title game by edging Severn Park, 2-1, on November 11 at Glen Burnie High.
“I am really happy with the way we played,” said Garden, who boasts a 70-21-1 record in six seasons. “They played very hard. I think we dominated the entire second half.”
Severna Park finished the year 12-6. Garden and her players considered the season a tremendous success since only two seniors, Noel Stefancik and Berit Isenberg, were in the starting lineup.
Broadneck ousted Severna Park early in the playoffs last year, beating the Falcons in a Class 4A quarterfinal.
They didn’t have any problems in the playoffs prior to the state semifinals, beating Oakdale, 5-0, and South River, 4-2.
“We definitely have improved this year,” Severna Park junior midfielder Ava Zimmerman said. “We started the year well and we were consistent.”
Zimmerman made an impact against 16-2 Mount Hebron, a team that advanced to the state championship game for the first time since 2013.
Zimmerman scored her seventh goal of the season with 7:55 remaining in the first quarter.
She intercepted a pass near midfield and dribbled the ball to just inside the 16-yard circle, where she beat sophomore keeper Kaelyn Cisna with a blistering shot to the right corner of the goal.
“We have been scored on first before and we have been working really hard at not letting it get us down,” Mount Hebron coach Jeannette Ireland explained. “I said, ‘Stay in the game, stay in the game.’”
Mount Hebron answered early in the second quarter. Abby Smith scored off a penalty corner. Senior midfielder Natalie Machiran, who will play field hockey at the University of Michigan next season, was credited with her first of two assists.
The Vikings scored off another penalty corner with 5:02 remaining in the half.
Machiran (29 goals) found Maddie Casto on the left side of the circle, and she scored from about 10 yards out.
Severna Park pressured Mount Hebron in the third and fourth quarters.
About four minutes into the third period, Zimmerman took a feed from Stefancik, but her hard shot was saved by Cisna.
With 6:53 remaining in the quarter, Isenberg’s shot about half through the circle went wide of the goal.
The Falcons threatened again early in the fourth quarter. Cisna made a nice save and another shot went wide of the goal.
“We were down in their end a lot,” Garden said. “We just couldn’t put the ball in the goal and that happens sometimes.”