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River Hill girls soccer beats Centennial for 3A East title

River Hill girls soccer coach Brian Song said Hawks forward Sheridan Street did not want to end her senior year on a sour note. “She wants to put her mark on the school, and the state, as one of the better ballplayers,” he said. “She doesn’t want to lose at this point.”

On Tuesday, with her team facing a potential elimination in the 3A East regional final against host Centennial, Street netted two goals—including one in double overtime—to help the Hawks earn a 2-1 victory, as well as a berth in state semifinals.

“It’s amazing, especially for it to be my senior year,” Street said. “I’m glad we were able to get so far, and I hope we can get farther.”

Three minutes into the game’s second overtime period, Alex Hamer received a cross from Jessie Hopkins in Eagles territory. 

Hamer looked as though she was going to take her a shot of her own. Instead, she sent a quick pass to a waiting Street, who fired a rocket into the top corner of the goal.

“All I remember is that I see Alex with the ball, and I’m about two yards away from her,” said the Hawks senior playmaker. “I’m just calling for it, calling for it…It was a great ball, great play.”

River Hill found itself playing from behind early on. Midway through the first half, Centennial capitalized on a near miscue on defense. Following a Hawks shot hitting the post, the Eagles claimed the loose ball and raced down the field.

Ruthie Lucas sent a pass to Reese Western, who connected to put her squad ahead, 1-0.

Until that moment, the Eagles had been dominating both sides of the field, especially with strong defensive performances from players like Carolyn Eichhorn and Madison Griffin.

Then, as the game entered its final six minutes before intermission, Street exploited an Eagles oversight on a header.

The senior was able to get behind the defensive wall, collect a perfectly placed ball in the box and net the equalizer for her squad.

“One of our biggest Achilles heels has been winning the ball out of the air,” said Centennial coach Steve Baxter. “Both goals, unfortunately, came off uncontested headers.”

In the second half, Centennial controlled a lot of the possession battles, often creating chances to score on Hawks keeper Julia Caine.

With nine minutes remaining in regulation, the Eagles nearly went ahead.

Centennial’s Western watched two Hawks misplays in succession, creating a near one-on-one opportunity in the box.

The driving Western would eventually have her chance broken up, but it was clear that the Eagles were getting to the Hawks defense.

River Hill’s last effort came with just three minutes left in regulation.

Hopkins set up for a free kick just outside the box. Her shot, however, stayed low to the ground, and Centennial was able to outlast a last-ditch offensive flare

Just like the two teams' regular season draw, Tuesday’s match would need extra time as well.

“Going into overtime, I said, ‘Oh girls, not another overtime,’” said Song, whose squad defeated Reservoir on Friday in penalty kicks. “They said, ‘It’s OK, we’ll put one in.’”

The first golden goal period ended just as it began, leaving just 10 minutes to decide the regional championship on the field before PKs would be needed.

Then, three minutes in, River Hill’s explosive offense came to life, and Street sealed the deal for her squad.

“I knew it was going to be a tough game coming in, because they have some quality ballplayers,” Song said. “At the end, I knew it would be who makes the last shot, or who doesn’t make the mistake (that would decide the outcome). And that’s basically what it came down to.”

Including playoffs, Centennial finishes 10-2-2 in county play—something Baxter said he was impressed with overall.

“To play River Hill for (109) minutes, and give up two goals...I couldn’t be more proud of our girls.” he said. “We dominated a lot of that game.

“What are you going to say? Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose.”

River Hill now moves onto the state semifinals, where it will battle 3A West champion Damascus on Saturday for a chance move on to defend its state title. 

Marriotts Ridge collects first regional championship in program history

The Mustangs defeated visiting Southern High School, 1-0, on Tuesday, claiming the 2A South regional championship and earning a berth in the state semifinals. 

Abbey Blum scored at 22:18 minute mark in the second half for Marriotts Ridge.

After a corner kick, Blum found the ball just outside the box and sent a rocket shot from 30 yards out for the game's only score. 

The Mustangs will play 2A North champion Loch Raven on Saturday for a chance to advance to the state title game.

 

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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