River Hill has been playing the numbers game all year. And Thursday night, Callie Allen’s number came up.
The junior defender slid into a direct kick from Haily Emrick and put the ball into the left corner of the net to give River Hill a 1-0 win over C. Milton Wright. It was River Hill's eighth state title, completing a perfect 19-0 season.
The winning goal came 71 seconds into the first overtime of the Class 3A state title game at UMBC, and gave River Hill its first state title since 2008.
This win “is what I wanted. I just went in there with all my heart and I just prayed that it would go in,” Allen said of her game winner.
The direct kick came after Michaela Hennessy was fouled near the left sideline
“I just place the ball" on penalty kicks, Emrick said. "I didn’t think we would score off (this one) … but after I kicked it, I saw Callie coming and I knew that was going to be it.”
“There was a little miscommunication in the back,” said C.M. Wright defender Abby Smucker. “We thought we all had our marks. But after the ball was banged around in the box, one of the (River Hill) girls got a foot on it. It was unfortunate, but it happens.”
“There is always someone stepping up for us,” said Hawks coach Brian Song, whose team was also undefeated in its 2006 title run.
Michaela Hennessy provided the spark all through the postseason. And throughout the season, Sheridan Street (22 goals) and Alex Hamer (10) fueled the offense.
“I thought it would be (Hamer or Street in this game). Time after time, they’ve come through,” said Song. But “everybody plays their part. That’s what makes us good. We feed off someone else.”
Allen had an opportunity late in the second half when she got a shot off another free kick by Emrick, but her shot just missed the far post.
Allison Lloyd, River Hill’s keeper in the first period, had a big play eight minutes before halftime when she came off her goal line to take on Kathy Kammerer and kick out what looked like a sure goal. She also got help from defender Colleen McKenna who saved a shot in the goal mouth.
Wright “was good at set plays,” said Lloyd. “Colleen always has my back. I had to make sure I was on my toes because the crosses were coming in fast.”
McKenna also rejected a shot midway through the second half with Julia Caine in the Hawks’ net.
Wright (18-2-1) has been a state semifinalist the last two years and had given up just four goals this season. The Mustangs played River Hill fairly even in the first 40 minutes, but the rest of the game belonged to the eventual champions.
“We didn’t seem to be able to get that connecting pass in the final third that we needed,” said Wright coach Paul Austin. River Hill “had more energy to the ball in the midfield. They seemed to win that portion of the field and that allowed them to keep their four defenders back. We couldn’t win that portion of the field to move the ball forward.
“I’m disappointed for the seniors. What an opportunity they had,” Austin said.
Song stressed the teamwork that has defined his team all season.
“Every sweat and tear that they’ve gone through, they did it as a team,” he said.