As the regular season grinds to a halt, I’ve put together one final installment of the Howard County girls soccer power rankings. As always, there’s a little bit of a shakeup. But, for the most part, it’s the usual suspects in the top five.
Considering this was my first year covering the sport in the county, I have to extend my thanks to everyone for being so welcoming and helpful. That goes to coaches, players and fans alike. If you enjoyed these regular season power rankings, I want to hear about it. Tweet me @MattOwings and ‘Like’ the Howard County Times Sports on Facebook.
1. River Hill (9-1-1, 9-4-1)
It’s difficult to justify voting against the Hawks in the season’s last week of power rankings. Though it got some help after Reservoir handed Centennial a loss on Tuesday, River Hill took care of business against Wilde Lake in a big way. The Hawks' 4-0 win over the Wildecats proved that they are still playing at a high level. Now that the regular season is over, look for the Hawks to be a force in the regional and state playoffs.
2. Centennial (7-2-2, 9-2-2)
The Eagles could have finished out their final week of regular season play undefeated and assured themselves a No. 1 spot on these rankings. Unfortunately, Reservoir had other plans, handing Centennial a 2-1 loss Tuesday. Still, the Eagles are primed for a successful playoff run, especially after having such a solid regular season in the competitive Howard County.
3. Atholton (7-3-1, 7-4-1)
Imagine if the Raiders had been at this high level of play all season. Would they have lost a game? It’s hard to say. What should be noted, however, is that Atholton very well might get a second shot at River Hill in the playoffs. The Hawks won’t want to lose twice to the same team, so look for that possible match-up to be an exciting one.
4. Marriotts Ridge (10-2-2, 7-2-2)
The Mustangs are another exciting squad that will look to make some noise in the postseason. I like their ability to spread the scoring around, not solely relying on one or two players for the team’s entire offensive attack. Marriotts Ridge keeper Jenna Bergquist may be the best goalie in the county, and her ability to keep her team in tight games could prove to be the difference-maker long-term.
5. Wilde Lake (7-3-1, 7-5-2)
The Cats entered Thursday with a chance to take a share of the county championship. Instead, River Hill took advantage of inspired play from Sheridan Street and Jessie Hopkins, and the Cats could not respond. Coach Davia Procida said after the loss to the Hawks that her team wouldn’t be affected by finishing the season on a sour note. The Cats also have the opportunity to face River Hill in postseason play. Look for that match-up as well.
Teams to watch:
Reservoir (7-4, 10-4)
Mt. Hebron (5-4-1, 6-4-1)
Howard (5-5, 6-5)
I really like all these teams as they head into the postseason. Reservoir is capable of pulling off wins against quality opponents, and with the strong play from Keri Rager and Blair Bonner, I wouldn’t sell the Gators short.
Mt. Hebron and Howard will play a rain-rescheduled match on Monday. Both teams have opportunities for upsets heading into postseason play.
Teams on the bubble:
Glenelg (4-7, 4-10)
Long Reach (2-9, 3-9)
Oakland Mills (1-10, 2-11)
Hammond (0-11, 1-11)
Glenelg Country (10-1-1 IAAM C, 11-1-1)
Chapelgate (1-4-3 IAAM B, 3-4-3)