Broadneck High field hockey coach Jen Parks believes her team has enough talent to win the program’s first state title since 2002.
At the same time, Parks understands that if the Bruins aren’t careful they may only end up being the third best team in Anne Arundel County. Such is life in the field hockey-rich league, which includes perennial powers Severna Park and South River.
Severna Park has won a state-record 19 state championships, including five straight – the last three since joining Broadneck and South River in Class 4A in 2007. South River has won three state titles, the last coming in 2005.
“Every year we believe it’s our year to win it all,” said Parks, a 1996 Broadneck graduate who’s in her fifth year as coach. “This year is no different. But, we know we have to work hard to get to that point. We play in a region where three teams can win a state title, but the reality is only one team is going to have a shot in the end.”
Broadneck went 14-2 last season, including a victory over Severna Park, but lost twice to South River, the latter coming in the Class 4A East Region semifinals. For the Bruins to get past Severna Park and South River in the postseason, they will rely on a younger team than last season with seven juniors and sophomores.
Junior midfielder Anna Haley will lead that group. Haley, who had a goal and four assists as a sophomore, has started on varsity since her freshman season. Haley honed her skills this summer as a member of the Amateur Athletic Union U.S. Junior Olympic team in August.
“We know we can win it all,” Haley said. “Our focus has been to get there ever since losing to South River. We’ve proven we can play with anybody by beating Severna Park. We might be a different team this year, but we have the talent to win.”
Also expected to play major roles for Broadneck will be right wing Paige Duncan (13 goals, 7 assists) and forward Cassie Lawrence (7 goals, 2 assists), both seniors. Duncan will play lacrosse at Towson University next school year.
“Severna Park is always there in the end and we want to change that,” Lawrence said. “South River has a lot of momentum as well and just had our number last year. We need to learn from those losses in order to move forward.”
Duncan said she believes there’s no tougher road to reach the state playoffs than the 4A East Region. She added despite that, there can be no excuses for not winning it all.
“We all have to take the same path to get there,” said Duncan, whose team opens Sept. 7 against Montgomery County power Bethesda-Chevy Chase. “It’s not going to be easy this year. Severna Park has so much tradition and South River just seems to get better and better. We’re younger than in years past, but if we work hard we can be right there.”