No. 5 Glenelg Country holds off Severna Park behind junior’s big second half
by James Peters
Clinging to a 7-6 lead at halftime, Glenelg Country School coach Paige Walton issued some stirring words to her charges that certainly had an effect on junior attacker Regan Byrne, whose four second half goals, including what turned out to be the game-winning score, helped the fifth-ranked Dragons edge host No. 8 Severna Park, 13-12, in the nightcap of the Falcons holiday tournament Thursday evening in Anne Arundel County.
“She said someone had to step up, bring fire, and that’s what we did,” Byrne said. “ We just brought the intensity. We knew that it was going to be a really competitive, intense game, but we knew we really wanted to win because we’re having a really good season so far.”
Glenelg Country (9-1 overall) continued that run of solid play largely through a fast start to the second half that saw the Dragons turn their slim halftime advantage into a 12-7 lead with 17 minutes, 49 seconds left in the match. Byrne posted three of her team’s goals during that 5-1 run.
“This is a pretty big win,” Byrne said. “Since we are the only private school in this public school tournament, we really didn’t know what we were expecting because they are not in our conference.
We kind of came into this tournament with an open mind. We knew it was going to be really competitive. We really didn’t know much about these teams, so we couldn’t watch film. Our coaches didn’t know what kind of offense or defense they were running, so we knew we had to come out hard. We had to work hard.”
Byrne started the second half with a 1-on-1 move to the goal that resulted in an 8-6 lead less than two minutes into the second half. Maggie Weisman pushed that advantage to three goals less than a minute later as she took a flip from Josie Pell during a weave move in the center of the field before outracing her defender for the goal.
Weisman struck again quickly off a pass from Maddie Herman (three goals, assist) to make the score Dragons 10, Falcons 6. Some 16 seconds later, Bryne took a feed from Jaclyn Marzsal (goal, three assists) from behind the goal and fired clear for an 11-6 advantage with 20:33 left in the match.
Severna Park’s Theresa Bragg briefly halted Glenelg’s run by besting her defender with a nifty 1-on-1 move before a free position goal by Bryne secured the Dragons a 12-7 lead with 17:49 remaining.
“They’re a super talented team, super quick,” said Falcons coach Kaitlyn Hines, whose 6-3 squad defeated C. Milton Wright, 21-7, earlier in the day. “I think that was a big part of it, just their fast pace. Their fast ball movement. They moved themselves really well around that 8 (meter) and around that 12 (meter arcs).”
The Falcons, however, proved to largely be the more dangerous team the rest of the way, using a 5-1 rally of their own to trim the deficit to the final 13-12 score when Delanie Abere (three goals) scooped up a saved shot and fired home with 4:48 left in the match.
Her timely score followed a pair of goals by Alyssa Gore-Chung, who finished with three goals for the match before being sent off in the second half for a pair of yellow cards, and single scores by Regan McDonnell and Bragg.
“We just told them they’re in control,” Hines said. “We just have to go out there and do what we have to do. We always tell our girls we need to be composed and disciplined and just take care of the things that we can control. So, we stepped back on the field and I think came up with the first draw out, which was huge. That momentum got behind us, and we were able to turn things around. I’m very proud of them.”
Severna Park had a chance to tie the score as it held possession with under two minutes to go, but a pivotal double team by the Dragons forced an errant pass out of bounds. Glenelg Country would not relinquish control of the ball the rest of the way to seal the victory.
“Our defense had great slides,” Walton said. “Definitely, it’s a team defense. The girls know the slide (is coming) and their help is there. I feel like, too, we came up with key ground balls there at the end of the game to get the ball back.”
Mixed in that Severna Park rally was the game-winner by Byrne, who completely juked out her defender to set up an uncontested shot into the left corner of the goal for a 13-10 advantage at the 9:09-mark of the second half.
Severna Park Tournament
No. 5 Glenelg Country School 13, No. 8 Severna Park 12
GOALS: GCS – R. Byrne 5, Herman 3, Weisman 2, J. Marzsal, Pel, Silvestri. SP – Gore-Chung 3, Abere 3, McDonnell 2, Bragg 2, Marsh, Kirchenheiter
ASSISTS: GCS – J. Marzsal 3, Pell, Herman
SAVES: GCS – S. Eastwood 6, Marzsal 4. SP – Krause 5
Glenelg Country School 7 6 – 13
Severna Park 6 6 – 12