River Hill soccer

Sheridan Street (left) and Alex Hamer are starring once again this fall for a River Hill team that has moved up into the top spot in this week's Howard County girls soccer power rankings. (Photo by Kim Hairston / September 29, 2013)

As many may note, this is my first season covering girls soccer for Howard County. Just when I thought I was starting to get a good read on the competition, this week completely changed my mind. 

Even if you’re a casual fan, you had to appreciate the great matchups and down-to-the-wire performances that every school put forth.

We’ve got a heavy shakeup in the power rankings this week, as former No. 1 team Centennial was dropped by Wilde Lake.

River Hill and Marriotts Ridge remain the only undefeated squads in county play, and that’s where we start with the power rankings.

As always, let me know your thoughts and opinions when it comes to my analysis. Follow me on Twitter (@MattOwings) for girls soccer updates, and be sure to “Like” explorehoward Sports on Facebook.

Here’s this week’s power rankings breakdown:

1. River Hill (5-0 county, 5-3 overall)

The Hawks moving into the first overall spot shouldn’t surprise anyone. As the only team in county play without a loss or a tie, River Hill has continued its dominance well into 2013. A Twitter follower reminded me that the Hawks haven’t lost a game in the county since 2011. I would be remiss to forget the exceptional play by keeper Julia Caine, as well as the Hawks’ young defense, who haven’t allowed more than three goals in a single game all season.

The Hawks have a tough week ahead. They will travel to Marriotts Ridge on Thursday, then welcome Centennial on Friday. 

2. Marriotts Ridge (4-0-1, 7-0-1)

If the Mustangs’ win Tuesday over Reservoir proved anything about Howard County girls soccer, it’s that no team is safe from week to week. Still, Marriotts Ridge has been a model of consistency this season, and in their last three games, the Mustangs have scored nine goals, while only allowing two.

After the home game against River Hill, the Mustangs will take on Long Reach.

3. Centennial (4-1, 6-1)

The Eagles dropped a close match to Wilde Lake for their first loss on the year. Coach Steve Baxter told me that he wasn’t worried about his squad, saying there were some obvious fixes that needed to be made.

“While I am disappointed with the loss, I am not concerned at all,” he said earlier in the week.

Baxter said his team must play more physical soccer, as well as limit unforced errors. Both of which are correctable, according to the coach.

The Eagles take on Long Reach before their match-up with River Hill this week.

4. Reservoir (3-2, 6-2)

The Gators finished the week 1-1, ending strong with a win over a very good Mt. Hebron squad, which could just as easily be in this top five as well.

Hebron and Reservoir were deadlocked for the entire first half, and it was during intermission that coach Josh Sullivan made changes that he said may produce a more consistent team going forward.