Based on recent history, River Hill boys soccer coach Matt Shagogue had a pretty good feeling that Tuesday’s opening Howard County game against Reservoir was going to be decided by a single goal.
After all, each of the last five meetings between the two schools have been one-goal games.
So when Reservoir struck first Tuesday on a goal by David Harris with 15 minutes left before halftime, Shagogue knew bouncing back quickly was of the utmost importance.
“To be honest with you … we had to answer right away. If we don’t score, we go into halftime down 1-0, things are different and we suddenly are just pressing the entire rest of the way,” Shagogue said. “Those next few minutes after their goal are what determined the game in my eyes.”
In the end, River Hill proved to be up to the challenge.
The Hawks’ Mike Heitzmann scored just over three minutes after Harris’ tally on a bouncing ball in the box to knot the score at one heading into the half, and then, less than 30 seconds out of intermission, the Hawks found the net again for what turned out to be the deciding score in a 2-1 victory.
On the game-winner, the Hawks won possession on the opening kickoff of the half, found Addison Testoff on the left wing and he played a ball into the box that Luke Turney was able to deflect off the goalie and into the net.
“Addie made a great run down the line and he’s got a brilliant left foot on him, so I knew I had to get in the box ready for his cross,” Turney said. “I was just trying to get something on it. I felt it on my back leg and then I turned around and it hit the goalie and next thing you know it’s in the net. It’s one of those where it doesn't really matter how pretty it is as long as it goes in.”
In a game that fairly evenly played, with both teams having their share of possession, Reservoir coach Josh Sullivan pointed out just how fine the line is between winning and losing.
“It was really two mistakes that cost us and credit to River Hill because they were ready to pounce on them,” Sullivan said. “The mistake here in the back with that mental lapse right there in the beginning of the half was the big one, and then just not clearing out that ball early on.
“The thing was, other than that, I was really proud of our guys. Nothing to hang our heads about, just a stepping stone and a learning experience.”
River Hill had the run of play early, but was unable to find the scoreboard. That left the door open for the Gators to strike first when a failed clear attempt put the ball on the foot of Harris on the right side of the box. He converted the chance for his second goal in as many games to open the season.
The Hawks’ answer came courtesy of Heitzmann finishing a cross into the box from Mike Faderin with 11:58 left in the first half. Then Turney provided the deciding score.
On top of being a big early-season victory, Tuesday’s result was also extra special for Shagogue because it marked his 100th career win. Among the highlights since he took over the River Hill program nine years ago is the state championship he led the team to in 2007.
River Hill 2, Reservoir 1
Goals: RH – Heitzmann, Turney; Re – Harris.
Assists: RH – Faderin, Testoff.
Saves: RH – Potts 2; Re - Dachao 6.
Mt. Hebron 3, Atholton 1
Goals: MH – Michael Yacynych, Brady Burman-Magday Alec Vaughn; A – Leandro Conti.
Assists: MH – Atticus Cooke 2, Pat Palin; A – Chris Johnson.
Saves: MH – N/A; A – Noah Bathras 8.
Wilde Lake 1, Hammond 0
Goal: WL – Bonsu.
Saves: WL – Riley 6; HA – N/A.
Glenelg 1, Marriotts Ridge 0
The Gladiators picked up the victory, as Tanner Folkman scored the game’s only goal in the first half.
Howard 4, Centennial 1
Goals: Ho – Boyer, Griggs, Zulick, Reyna; C – Wong.
Assists: Ho – Corley, Griggs, Lowenkron.
Saves: Ho – Bowen 6; C – Wilson 6.
Oakland Mills 3, Long Reach 1
Goals: OM - N'diaye Hymad 2, Javier Avetrani; LR - N/A.
Assists: OM - Hymad, Avetrani.
Saves: OM - Flores 4; LR - N/A.
Glenelg Country 1, Gerstell Academy 0
Griffin Keane scored the lone goal of the game in the second half to lift the Dragons to the victory.