Entering Thursday’s 3A state championship game against Huntingtown High School, River Hill senior Sheridan Street said she knew it was going to be a one-goal type of game.
With that in mind, the Syracuse-bound forward took it upon herself to make sure she at least got one in the back of the net at UMBC Stadium. Her goal, coming at the 7:08 mark in the first half, was all it took, and the Hawks were victorious over the Hurricanes, 1-0.
This is the second state title for River Hill in as many years.
“I just remember kicking it, and I’m running…hearing coach Song say ‘beat her, beat her,’” said Street, recalling her game-winning goal. “Luckily it went in.”
Street scored her seventh goal of the playoffs in the win, tallying her 15th of the season overall.
In the first half, the Hurricanes (16-2-1) controlled the majority of possessions early on. While most of the play took place within the middle third of the pitch, Huntingtown was persistent in its attempts to press into Hawks territory. But, with each chance, defenders Callie Allen and Julianna Ball thwarted the Hurricanes.
Ball, a junior, came into the match early to replace an injured Rebecca Higgins. The personnel changes due to injury throughout the game were a lot to handle, according to five-time state champion coach Brian Song.
“This was the first time all season that I made that many changes,” he said. “Knowing each one of these girls, that they were injured, but they put their hearts and souls out there every minute, and I think that’s what our season was about this year.”
In the second half, the player shake-ups didn’t alter the mindset Song liked to instill in his players.
In bend-not-break fashion, River Hill (14-4-1) allowed multiple Hurricanes’ attackers in their own territory. Though the opportunities to score began to pile up, Huntingtown failed to record a goal.
Julia Caine’s three saves, as well as the staunch defense, allowed the Hawks to be successful in taking the Hurricanes’ scoring threats out of the equation.
“I personally think we’re the better team, and I have no shame in saying that” said Hurricanes coach Jill Twetten after the game.
Huntingtown, located in Calvert County, was led offensively down the middle of the field by the team’s leading scorer in Victoria Bellucci, as well as on the wing by Sarah Osborne.
Though a number of crosses resulted in clears out of the box for Huntingtown, Twetten said she felt her team was just on the cusp of converting on a score.
“We can leave tonight feeling like we put it all out there,” she said. “I’ve been here three times with a few of these girls, and so I think the sadness is with them leaving and this is the last game.”
Since the beginning of the season, River Hill players agreed that the goal had always been to repeat as state champions. A tough out-of-county schedule—something that multiple Hawks said prepared the squad for the postseason—didn’t shake the Hawks in the end.
Street ends her career with two state championship wins, leaving behind a legacy that many will attempt to imitate at River Hill.
“To be honest, for me, I was a lot more nervous this year than I was last year,” she said. “But, I think it helped a lot. I think it really helped our team a lot. We really stepped up and we really played well.”Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun