The trio of Hawks looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders and took in the news.
"Really?" questioned River Hill's Jen Voyton, Katie Arensmeier and Alex Hamer, almost in unison. "We did?"
Then they jumped up and shouted, "Woooo!"
And that was the end of the brief celebration.
All three had scored in River Hill's 5-0 shutout of Centennial Oct. 16. The Hawks had won the game, obviously, but they did not know that their 13th straight win also clinched the county championship, their second straight and fourth for coach Brian Song.
"We thought we had to beat Atholton" in the final game on Oct. 18 to claim the title, said Katie Arensmeier, who scored on a first-half penalty kick against Centennial.
Song had not told his team the significance of the game's outcome.
"I guess he doesn't want us to focus on the fact that we won a county championship. He wants us to focus on each individual game so we don't get overconfident," Arensmeier said.
But "it is a really nice feeling, knowing we have won a county championship," Hamer said.
"We look for the bigger picture," said Song, referring to a state championship. "The kids worked really hard this year. I think the way they ended the season last year was very difficult on the girls. When they came back this year, they really wanted to prove something. I don't think we've talked about counties at all."
River Hill last won a state title in 2008.
River Hill (10-0 in the county) will host Atholton, a 1-0 winner over Long Reach Tuesday, this week in the final regular season game. Entering the week, it was conceivable that Atholton (8-2) could have forced a co-championship with two wins, but River Hill would have to have lost two games, including a loss to Atholton.
Voyton, assisted by Callie Allen, scored 10 minutes into the Centennial game. Michaela Hennessey (Haily Emrick) and Arensmeier (penalty kick) also scored in the first half. Alex Hamer (Voyton) and Sheridan Street (Voyton) put the final touches on the win.
With a title in hand, Thursday's contest with Atholton is unfinished business. Though River Hill won their meeting last year, Atholton pulled a huge upset and eliminated River Hill from the playoffs.
"It's a huge game for us," said Arensmeier. "We are going to come out hard and show them what we got."
The game will be emotional in other ways, said Song, explaining that an Atholton player lost her father this week. "We will pay a tribute to him. A lot of these (River Hill) kids play with (Katrina Macadoff) in club ball. The nice thing about Howard County is that we are very close knit. Even though in the game of soccer we might be rivals, after that we are all friends."
The win over Centennial marked Song’s 120th win since 2005 at River Hill.
One is enough for Atholton
Jenna Brewer scored off a pass from Katrina Macadoff in the first half. That was Atholton’s only tally of the evening, but the Raiders made it hold up in a 1-0 win over Long Reach.
Atholton “did a great job passing the ball around in the midfield. They played high quality soccer throughout” the game, said Long Reach coach Erik Sandersen. “They played strong defense and got some quality goalkeeping to preserve the lead.”
Sage Mayhew had 10 saves for Atholton.
Fehr, Bonner put Reservoir in winning position
Reservoir played a “pretty complete game tonight” for a 2-0 win over Marriotts Ridge, said coach Josh Sullivan.
“I think we did a great job threatening on all opportunities that we had. I don’t think we played predictable. I felt like we moved the ball around well and tried to attack a few different ways, so all in all I was pretty pleased,” he said.
Darci Fehr put in a rebound off a shot from Taylor Sullivan for the lead 17 minutes into the game. “She was following up the play and was in the right spot to put it away,” said Sullivan.
Keeper Jenna Bergquist “came out and made a huge save, but the ball deflected back” to Fehr, said Marriotts Ridge coach Robin Grey.
Blair Bonner put in a direct kick from about 25 yards out for Reservoir’s final goal. “She ripped it right over the wall into the upper 90. It’s something I’ve been waiting to see all year from her, so it was so nice seeing her finally get one. She's got such a great, strong leg and very accurate. It was just very deserving because she does so much for us,” Sullivan said.
Grey summarized her team’s play: “We had a number of opportunities, some of which were on wide open goals, yet could not finish off a single one. Reservoir made their opportunities count. We did not. This needs to change if we want to be successful in post season play.
Shutout win for Howard
Nia Elbeck and Christine Robinson each had two goals in Howard’s 5-0 win over Hammond.
Hannah Weaver also scored for Howard.
Maddie Barrow, Robinson, Sydney Mastalerz and Catherine Sims had assists for Howard.
Wilde Lake breaks cycle
Wilde Lake scored twice in the first 10 minutes of the game but “got comfortable” and let Oakland Mills back in the game.
But Wilde Lake eventually pulled out a 3-1 win over visiting Oakland Mills.
Maria Pascale scored first for Wilde Lake when her corner kick curved into the goal untouched. Brynn Drury later finished a cross from Rachel Lazris for a 2-0 lead.
“We continued to play strong, but halfway through the first half we got a bit comfortable, and Oakland Mills’ Fern Peters dribbled through two of our defenders and scored near post,” said coach Davia Procida.
Sixteen minutes into the second half, Julia Rocha got a breakaway and gave the Wildecats some breathing room.
“We finally broke the cycle today. Almost every time we have had a good game, we can't bring it together for a win in the next one. We had a great win last week and we finally carried that over to another game, so it's promising for the future,” Procida said.
Kate Glaros “really stepped up today on defense for us. Oakland Mills put up a good fight; they have a lot of heart,” she added.
Wilde Lake “won 90 percent of the 50/50 balls in the first half,” said Oakland Mills’ Christina Bleivik. After Peters’ first-half score, “We tried to rally back in the second half but couldn't get much rolling.”
Prepping for playoffs
Mt. Hebron beat Glenelg, 2-1.
Samantha Creese scored on an assist from Taylor Zucco for Glenelg’s goal. Details about Mt. Hebron’s goals were not available.
Lindsey Mazer had seven saves and Kelly Geist eight as they shared time in the net for Glenelg.
“Both teams played really well,” said Glenelg’s Maureen Hammond. “It was a good game for us as we start to prepare for playoffs.”
Girls soccer leading scorers (by school, as of Oct. 14, goals only):
Atholton: Jenna Brewer, 8 goals; Maddie Boccio, 7; Katrina Macadoff, 6.
Centennial: Anna Mitchell, 7; Carolyn Eichhorn, 6; Reese Western, 3.
Chapelgate: Lydia Frierson, 26; Christina Vanwingerden, 3;
Glenelg: Samantha Creese, 8; Kathleen Mensing, 4; Kayla Renehan, 3; Sydney Peirce, 3.
Glenelg County School: Deja Hursey, 16; Chloe Lewis, 12; Sabrina DeLeonibus, 11;
Hammond: Allie Kennedy, 1; Zoe Pekins, 1; Cristina McGuire, 1.
Howard: Nia Elbeck, 8; Caitlyn Whitford, 4; Emma Bruzdzinski, 3;
Long Reach: Kristen Fawole, 12; Ana Rebaza, 10;Victoria Simpson, 4;
Marriotts Ridge: Morgan Crable, 6; Taylor Hensh, 5; Alexis Zadjura, 4.
Mt. Hebron: Susie Halper, 4; Kelly Richards, 3; Kelsi Folch, 2; JenGiles, 2.
Oakland Mills: Fern Peters 6; Rachel Hunter 2.
Reservoir: Tara Thompson, 3; Paola Rosa, 3;Lilly Hermina, 2; Keri Rager, 2.
River Hill: Sheridan Street, 17; Jen Voyton, 10; Alex Hamer, 6; Katie Arensmeier, 6.
Wilde Lake: Maria Pascale, 6; Brynn Drury, 6; Rachel Lazris, 3; Julia Rocha, 3.