It had been more than two weeks since Severn competed at home in field hockey. Libby Wild, Jillian North and the rest of the Admirals made sure it was a sweet homecoming.
Wild, Devon Beagan and Abi Poindexter scored goals, while North spearheaded a strong defensive unit as Severn blanked visiting Old Mill, 3-0, on Monday.
North replaced starting goalie Reilly Miller three games into the season after Miller suffered an injury in a 2-1 win over John Carroll. This was the third shutout posted with North in front of the cage, and the team’s fourth straight win at home.
“I am psyched to work with my defense. They have helped me so much,” North said. “I am learning how to communicate to my defense, and the field players in general, at this level.”
Playing with senior defenders Liz Chappell, Olivia Smith and Ashley Clifford, among others, North made three saves while the defense competently contested 11 Old Mill (4-5) penalty corners. Smith made a defensive stick save as well.
“We have three strong senior leaders on defense, and they have done a great job all year,” Severn coach Betz Wild said. “The rest of the team worked hard to get into the system on the breakaways, and there were a lot of breakaways today.”
Alana Miller got Severn’s offense going early with a shot that went just wide to the right, and Libby Wild got the Admirals (7-4) on the board three minutes later, rebounding her own shot past goalie Ashleigh Bathras, who made 11 saves for the Patriots.
“This was our first game home in a while and it was nice to get back here and get in a groove,” Libby Wild said. “You want to make sure everyone is talking and working back and helping everyone.”
Libby Wild’s eighth goal of the season put Old Mill on its heels, but the Patriots did a good job of transitioning up the field and putting pressure on Severn’s defense in the first half.
“That early goal deflated us a bit, and we have some young players that can be unsure at times, but we have to play 60 minutes of field hockey,” Old Mill coach Heather Arnold said. “We had a lot of opportunities. Their defense came up with the ball a good bit.”
That defense included North, who made two key stops at the start of the second half to keep Severn in the lead, including a nifty save on a shot that deflected off of Jade Kakuk’s stick. Betz Wild credits North for stepping up, as well as the coaching help that has gotten her to where she is.
“Jillian has stepped up and done a wonderful job,” Betz Wild said. “We have a dedicated goalie coach who spends 45 minutes at the start of every practice with our junior varsity and varsity goalies. We don’t just stick them in the cage and tell them to kick it out. It means the world to these girls.”
That goalie coach is Ashley Dalisera, who played at Severna Park, American University and for the U.S. National team.
As the second half progressed, the Admirals began consistently driving at the Old Mill goal. Devon Beagan scored her fourth goal off an assist from Libby Wild. Eva Gormley came close to finishing a long pass from Libby Wild five minutes later, and Sydney Kirchenheiter went just wide left five minutes after that. Poindexter finished the scoring for Severn, tallying her fourth of the season, unassisted, with 8 minutes, 10 seconds to play.
“Everybody is putting their effort in that circle and getting a touch on the ball,” Betz Wild said. “We are happy to have these out-of-conference games. It gives us an opportunity to play against a different style and try to figure out their game plan.”
Severn won its third straight and heads back to IAAM B conference play Friday at home against Glenelg Country. The Admirals are 4-0 in the conference, and getting ready for a run to the playoffs, while the Patriots have their own run in the Class 4A North Region to make.
“We just have to work to get goal hungry in that circle. This was a good game and a good test for us. They are a very skilled team,” Arnold said.
Severn 3, Old Mill 0
Goals: SE — Wild, Beagan, Poindexter.
Assists: SE — Wild.
Saves: OM – Bathras 4; SE – North 6.
Half: SE, 1-0.