River Hill girls soccer stuns Damascus to return to state title game

With only a month left in her time as a River Hill High School student, senior Sheridan Street wants to make sure she fits as many memories as possible in before graduating early and departing for Syracuse — where she has a scholarship to play soccer — in December.

And after scoring her fifth and sixth goals of the playoffs in the first half of a 4-1 3A state semifinal win over previously undefeated Damascus (17-1) Saturday afternoon at CCBC - Essex, Street is doing a pretty good job of finishing strong.

"As a player I just want to make a statement and help my team win, so I'm doing everything I can to get us to the point of winning and I hope to keep that going," said Street, who also assisted Jessica Hopkins on River Hill's third goal, midway through the second half to give the Hawks a 3-0 lead.

Less than ten minutes after that goal, Damascus — which had outscored its opponents 77-7 coming into the game — finally got on the board when Katie Kirschenmann collected a deflected shot off the foot of teammate Steph Cox and punched it in to break up the shutout.

Cox had 22 goals and 11 assists coming into the game, while Kirschenmann had 14 and 11.

But just over ten minutes later, junior Alex Hamer — who also assisted Street on the first goal of the game — scored an unassisted tally to reclaim the three-goal cushion for the Hawks (13-4-1).

"Throughout the season we've been working really well together, and the further along the season has gone the more we've been connecting," Hamer said of her rapport with Street. "Before the game we talked about how we wanted to go out hard and get a couple of goals in the beginning so, it was a great feeling when we came out and got two right off the bat, it set us up for a good rest of the game."

Damascus had never allowed more than one goal in a game this season.

"Looking at the record they were much better than we were, but I said in my opinion we played one of the toughest schedules for public schools," said River Hill coach Brian Song, whose team started the season 0-2 after losses to Good Counsel and Bishop O'Connell, and also lost to McDonogh and Atholton. "I told them if you play the way you're capable of playing, in the first ten minutes the game it's going to be over. I didn't mean over literally, but at least you'll have control of the game the rest of the way."

Damascus managed five shots on goal in the game, but Julia Caine turned three away while sophomore Katie Caddigan made one stop late in the second half. River Hill also had five shots on goal, but converted four of them.

"Their counter attack was very good, they were very quick up top and that kind of hurt us," Damascus coach Katie Roberts said.

Damascus has been to the state semifinals once before, in 2003.

"We've had a magical season, 17-1 is not a bad season for us, but River Hill is a well respected program, they're defending state champs, they have lots of titles and we were trying to get our first one," Roberts said. "We didn't give up."

The Hawks, who lost in the state semifinals in 2003 and 2005, will now go for their ninth state title next week against the winner of Huntingtown and Bel Air at UMBC.

"Every team on Aug. 15 when the tryouts start wants to reach the pinnacle which is the state finals ... but only two teams can get there," Song said. "We did have a lot of hiccups during the season, we went up and down, but we learned a lot from it."

In each of its last two playoff games, River Hill allowed the first goal, but Street made sure that didn't happen on Saturday.

"Sheridan is one of these players, once she gets going, she gets momentum and she's getting some great distribution from Alex (Hamer) and Jessie (Hopkins), and she's finishing them," Song said. "She wants to leave her mark, not just in our high school but the state of Maryland."

River Hill 4, Damascus 1 (3A state semifinal)

First half

RH: Street assisted by Hamer, 37:44.

RH: Street assisted by Haugh, 28:40.

Second half

RH: Hopkins assisted by Street, 25:35.

D: Kirschenmann assisted by Cox, 16:25.

RH: Hamer unassisted, 13:18.

Saves: Caine (RH), 3; Caddigan (RH), 1; Kaufman (D), 1.

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