The River Hill girls soccer team won a second straight state championship Thursday, Nov. 14, defeating Huntingtown, 1-0, with a goal by senior Sheridan Street. (Cara LaMaina/Baltimore Sun Media Group video)
The fall season has come to a close, and it’s time for the end-of-season installment of the girls soccer power rankings. As a group, Howard County teams racked up 19 wins, two regional championships and one state title in postseason play.
We saw River Hill lose its first regular season county game since 2011, as well as Marriotts Ridge earn its first state semifinal appearance in school history. It was an exciting year for all 12 county public schools. Here’s how I saw the final girls soccer power rankings breakdown.
County records include playoff games against county opponents
River Hill's Sheridan Street is all smiles as she holds the Class 3A state championship trophy. (Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore Sun / November 14, 2013)
The River Hill Hawks claimed the 3A East title with 2-1 double overtime victory over the Centennial Eagles Tuesday night. (Matt Owings/Baltimore Sun Media Group video)
1. River Hill (12-1-1 county, 14-4-1)
It’s no surprise that the Hawks lead this year’s final set of power rankings. After winning the Howard County regular season championship outright, River Hill went on to defend its 3A state title. During the regional playoffs, the Hawks won close games against Wilde Lake (1-0), Reservoir (2-2, 6-5 PKs) and Centennial (2-1 OT). In the state semifinals, they beat previously undefeated Damascus, 4-1. River Hill then completed its season-long mission of winning another championship by downing Calvert County’s Huntingtown High School, 1-0, at UMBC Stadium. During the playoffs, senior forward Sheridan Street scored seven times, including a three-game span where she had two goals in each contest. Street’s lone goal in the state championship game was enough to secure her second title in as many years. The talented Street will graduate from River Hill in December and enroll at Syracuse University, where she will continue what looks to be a very promising soccer career.
2. Centennial (9-3-2, 12-3-2)
The Eagles should look at this season and be proud of what they were able to accomplish. Along with Reservoir, it could be argued that Centennial gave River Hill more trouble than any other opposing Howard County squad. In their regular season match-up, the two teams played to a scoreless draw. In the postseason, the 3A East regional championship was decided by an overtime goal from of the state’s best players. Overall, Centennial has a lot to look forward to next fall. Anna Mitchell, the team’s leader in points, returns next season for her senior year. The forward will look to improve on a season where she scored 11 times and dished out 18 assists. Also returning for the Eagles next season are sophomores Megan Oliver (12 goals, five assists) and Reese Western (eight, five), as well as freshman Jasmine McCree (three, two).
3. Marriotts Ridge (7-2-2, 13-3-2)
In the 2A state playoffs, the Mustangs moved through the regional round with effectiveness. Coach Robin Grey’s team — which didn’t have a scorer with more than 10 goals all year — moved onto the state semifinals to play Loch Raven. Though it went down by two goals early in the match, Marriotts Ridge rallied back. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late, and the Mustangs went home without a chance at a state title. One of the team’s highlights on the season was senior goalkeeper Jenna Bergquist, who notched an outstanding 90 percent save percentage. As a whole, the Mustangs will graduate a few key pieces, but fans should expect them to contend once again in 2014.
4. Reservoir (8-5, 11-5)
In her senior season, Keri Rager nearly led the Gators back to another 3A state regional championship appearance. Standing in their way was River Hill, and that Nov. 1 playoff match-up was one of Howard County’s better games all season. Reservoir scored twice in the first half, but then gave up two quick goals to let the Hawks pull even before the break. The second half was a defensive battle, and after two overtimes, the winner of the sectional final was ultimately decided by penalty kicks.
Rager had 13 goals and 13 assists on the season, but six other players had three scores each as well. The Gators are a well-coached squad, so it is more likely that they will reload, rather than rebuild, in 2014.
5. Atholton (7-4-1, 7-5-1)
A slow start ultimately hampered the Raiders’ ability to gain any momentum until the last two weeks of the regular season. Wins against River Hill and Reservoir put coach Stephanie Stoutenborough’s team in position to receive a first-round bye in the playoffs. In the end, the offense went cold in the postseason, and the Raiders went home early. Sophomore Jaylyn Chandler — who had the game-winner in overtime against the Hawks — led the team in scoring with six goals.
Too close to call:
Wilde Lake (8-4-1, 8-6-2)
The Wildecats were a surprise team by many standards. I’ve been told by multiple coaches that the father-daughter coaching duo in Dave and Davia Procida readied this team to face, and beat, just about anyone. Rachel Lazris led her squad in points with seven goals and five assists. Carliane LaGuerre scored seven times as well.
Mt. Hebron (6-5-1, 7-5-1)
Players like Jen Giles (nine goals, three assists) and Kelly Richards (10, five) led the Vikings in scoring on the year, but it was outstanding sweeper play from Nia Crump that coach Tim Deppen said was the difference-maker all season long. Take away two Megan Oliver scores within the first 11 minutes of the sectional final against Centennial, and Hebron’s strong defensive play could have helped them advance.
Howard (6-5, 8-6)
River Hill's Callahan Allen slides in for a tackle on Huntingtown's Erin Shamleffer. (Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore Sun / November 14, 2013)