Centennial paid the price for coming off a string of less challenging games.

“We were slow at the beginning,” said Centennial senior Kay Kelly after Tuesday’s 3-0 loss to River Hill. “We just needed to go to the ball.”

River Hill didn’t allow much time to stand around and watch.

“I thought we played really well,” said River Hill’s Emily Marlatt. “We definitely capitalized on our urgency in the circle, which is really good. We just hustled and used our skills.”

It was Centennial’s second county loss and knocks the Eagles out of what was a four- way tie at the top of the county standings.

Now there are three at the top — Mt. Hebron, Marriotts Ridge and Glenelg. All have 6-1 records.

Centennial, River Hill and Atholton stand at 5-2 with four league games to play.

Erin Barker and Marlatt both scored first-half goals to give River Hill a cushion to help withstand Centennial’s second-half effort.

“When you are up against a team that is beating you to every single ball and they are getting touches and making passes, you get caught back on your heels a little bit, and it’s OK. It’s a learning experience and it was nice to see my team come back and play a lot stronger in the second half,” said Centennial coach Tara Carr.

River Hill kept Margaret Maclean, Centennial’s top scorer, from getting many quality touches on the ball.

Kelly, a midfielder, tried to carry the Eagles on her shoulders.

“Kay’s my workhorse,” Carr said. “She’s the one making sure the job is getting done whether in the defensive circle or the offensive circle. Without her we’d be an entirely different team.”

Emily Hamburger got River Hill’s final goal.

“Every win’s a big win,” said River Hill’s Dani Schwab. “It’s all about progress and getting to the best level we can and getting ready for playoffs.

Both teams had their regular starting goalies back in the lineup. Centennial’s Anna Cosentino (four saves) and River Hill’s Sierra Kelly (six saves) missed recent games due to injury.

River Hill 3, Centennial 0

Goals: RH – Erin Barker, Emily Marlatt, Emily Hamburger. C – none.

Assists: RH – Maggie Connors, Emily Hamburger.

Saves: RH – Sierra Kelly 6. C – Anna Cosentino 4.

Halftime: River Hill, 2-0.