In the four years playing for the Hammond varsity girls soccer team, Madison Pisone had never seen the Golden Bears win on senior night – until Tuesday.
Pisone scored an early first-half goal, which helped Hammond (4-6 county, 6-6-1 overall) clinch the, 3-0, victory over Oakland Mills (0-10, 0-13).
“It feels great because we haven’t won our senior night in all the years I’ve been here… so it feels great to get this win,” Pisone said. “You know, we really came out here and we were really determined, because like I said, this isn’t something normal in Hammond history, so it’s monumental.”
It took a bit for the Golden Bears to settle in and put away their first goal of the afternoon, which came with 25:12 remaining in the first half.
The Scorpions played a very high back line, allowing Hammond to sneak passes over the top of their defense.
Jennah Hassan took advantage early and gave the Golden Bears the 1-0 lead. The junior forward out-ran the Scorpions back four on a ball played over the top and slotted her shot past goalkeeper Jordan Navarro (nine saves) for the score.
“We knew going into it that senior night is always a tough night emotionally. It’s amped up. The girls are emotional and depending on playoffs, obviously, it could be the last game played on our home field,” said Golden Bears coach Chris Reagle. “Early on we just had a lot of jitters. It was tough communicating. It was tough to figure out who was going where and I think it was just all the emotions – everything that was wrapped in to senior night can play tricks on you. You can kind of see it across the board teams that lose on senior night and it’s tough. We were lucky to get a couple early, which allowed us to settle down a little bit.”
About 30 seconds later, Pisone doubled the lead.
Hammond was awarded a free kick about 40 yards out after a hand ball was called on Oakland Mills. Senior Gabi Abel took the kick and sent in a ball inside the six-yard box, which the Scorpions had trouble clearing. Finally Pisone, in the right place, found the loose ball and hit it in the back of the net for the score.
The goal was extra special for the senior, who had played mostly on defense for the Golden Bears this season and even made a start in net for her team.
“Madi has been a rock back there,” Reagle said. “She’s dealt with injury issues, as a lot of the seniors. For her to get a goal is pretty special. In front of the home crowd and friends and family and she’s worked so hard for four years so it’s great. I mean she played goalie one game for us, so it’s nice for her to get a goal.”
The deficit sparked the Scorpions, however, as they picked up their play in the time remaining before the break.
Oakland Mills freshman Isabella Nelson had a couple prime opportunities within the first 40 minuntes that narrowly missed the mark.
Just before Hassan gave Hammond the lead, the Scorpions were awarded a free kick 15 yards outside of the 18-yard box. Nelson stepped up and sent a booming shot towards net, which just skimmed off the edge of the post and out of play.
Then with about 10 minutes remaining until halftime, Nelson found some space just inside the box and sent a well-struck shot that knocked off the near post.
“We started off slow and that was our set back,” said Oakland Mills coach Aidan Hahn. “The preparation that they had going into the game, the intensity was lacking, which is something they always only get only when they get scored on, so it’s a tough lesson to be learned every game.”
Hammond entered the half with the 2-0 lead and settled the ball down a bit more in the last 40 minutes. The Scorpions adjusted their defense as well, paying more attention to the long balls played by the Golden Bears, as they were able to catch Hammond off side twice, erasing goals by Hassan and Dani Abel.
“They were trying to send the balls over the moon here, either diagonally or over the top,” Hahn said. “I told them at halftime that that was what was going to continue to happen, because they're going to anticipate those balls coming from the back. The people up top are going to make those runs, so you have to pay attention to those. Don’t get all sucked in in going in to the middle. Make sure you stay in your position and stay disciplined.”
The Golden Bears out-shot Oakland Mills 10-1 in the half, but Navarro stepped up and made some tough saves, especially down the stretch. The sophomore keeper did well coming off her line and kept the Scorpions in it for most of the game. But Hammond broke through once more with less than four minutes left.
“We’re still working on one-on-one’s with Jordan and coming out, how to make yourself big, but she made critical saves as usual and it’s very nice to see her progress,” Hahn said. “Usually after we go a goal down we get that hunger to fight for it again, so I think that in the second half we played much better switching it around and the girls they paid more attention and had more awareness of where to be and where the players were going to be, because they had big players up top.”
Senior midfielder Mary Johnson played in a free kick from about 25 yards out in to the six. Navarro went out and tried corralling the ball, but with the Golden Bears crashing in, could not make the clean catch. The ball scurried around the net before falling to the feet of junior Jessica Welsh, who placed her shot in the open net and ultimately solidifed the 3-0 score.
“We went out and really wanted to attack early,” Reagle said. “We went out with an aggressive formation, aggressive style. We were lucky to get two early and then and you know, kind of sat back a little bit and tried to work the ball around and got one late, but we had some chances. It’s not where we want to be, but again, we played well and it’s a good team, so I’ll take a 3-0 victory any day.”
The Scorpions and Golden Bears each have one game left on their regular season schedule before entering the postseason next week.
Hammond travels to River Hill for a Friday night game, while Oakland Mills hosts its last home game of the year against Glenelg on Thursday.
“All the seniors, we felt nervous. We’re all excited to play, but we were all nervous because we haven’t won our senior game in forever, so for us to get that win – and as soon as we hit those two goals we hit our stride and kept going on those,” Pisone added. “The wins reflect who we are and the losses reflect our breakdowns and so what we need to do entering playoffs is to eliminate our breakdowns and eliminate our flaws and hopefully we’ll make it far in playoffs."
“Once they have the mindset to prepare and that intensity is always there and making sure they have time on the ball and settle down, I know they are capable of doing great things,” Hahn added. “It’s just making sure communication is behind that as well, because we still have players that need to talk to each other and raise their head when passing and just being more aware of your surroundings. So those little things I think will help us.”
Hammond (4-6 county, 6-6-1 overall) 3, Oakland Mills (0-10 county, 0-13 overall) 0 (Tuesday, Oct. 18)
Goals: Ha – Hassan, Pisone, Welsh.
Saves: Ha – Howard 2; OM – Navarro 9.
Halftime: 2-0, Hammond
Around the league:
Centennial (7-2-1 county, 10-2-1 overall) 5, Glenelg (2-6-2 county, 4-7-2 overall) 0 Tuesday, Oct. 18)
It has been an impressive regular season for the Eagles, but they had their best game thus far, scoring five goals on the road against a good Glenelg team on Tuesday.
“I am very proud of the team effort,” said Centennial coach Steve Baxter.
The Eagles had four different goal scorers in the game, while also limiting Glenelg to just five shots and three on target – all of which coming in the second half of action.
Sophomore Courtney McVicker started in net, but did not need to make a save in the first half. Freshman Ashley Bilger started in goal in the second half and picked up three saves to help preserve the Eagles eighth shutout of the season.
Centennial added its first of the game just eight minutes in, as senior Jasmine McCree picked up the assist on the Kelli Dunagan goal.
About nine minutes later, McCree picked up her second assist of the night, helping Dunagan with her second-straight goal, giving Centennial the, 2-0 lead entering halftime.
Sophomore Ashley Molz, playing her second game at defensive mid, scored her second goal in as many games to give the Eagles, the 3-0, cushion 10 minutes in to the second half.
With about 5:30 left, McCree put in Centennial’s fourth goal of the game, with sophomore McKenna Griffin picking up the assist.
Senior Cristina Narron capped off the scoring for the Eagles, finishing a shot near the top of the 18-yard box, unassisted, to solidify the, 5-0 outcome.
“Jasmine has shown remarkable consistency scoring a goal and, or assist in 11 of 13 games,” Baxter said. “She has been involved in the game winning goal with a goal or assist in eight of our 10 wins. Madi Griffin has been nothing short of consistently. [She has been an] outstanding center back this season and is our defensive leader and one of many key contributors in our eight shutouts.”
The Gladiators sophomore goalkeeper Alyssa Henderson had a busy day in net. Two of her saves in the first half in particular were impressive, as she fully extended out to make the diving stop, which prevented additional scores by Dunagan and Griffin.
Glenelg ends its regular season on the road at Oakland Mills, while the Eagles have a big matchup against 3A counterpart, Reservoir at home. Both games are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Goals: C – Dunagan 2, Molz, McCree, Narron.
Assists: C – McCree 2, Deng, Mc Griffin.
Saves: C – McVicker 0, Bilger 3.
Halftime: 2-0, Centennial.
South Carroll (3-5-5) 2, Glenelg (2-5-2 county, 4-6-2 overall) 1 (Monday, Oct. 17)
The Gladiators fell in their sixth straight game on Monday, as the Cavaliers came back from a 1-0 deficit to pull away with the, 2-1 victory.
Freshman Taylor Carter scored Glenelg’s lone goal of the match within the first 40-minutes of the game.
South Carroll ends the year, 3-1, against Howard County opponents, defeating Atholton, Long Reach and Glenelg, while succumbing to just Centennial this season.
Goals: G – Carter.
Halftime: 1-0, Glenelg.
River Hill (7-2-1 county, 9-3-1 overall) 2, Marriotts Ridge 1 (3-5-2 county, 3-7-3 overall) 1 (Tuesday, Oct. 18)
The Hawks picked up their second-straight win Tuesday, defeating the visiting Mustangs, 2-1, while also keeping themselves alive in the county championship hunt.
Junior captain Megan Chun started the game off with a goal about 28 minutes left in the first half, putting away a pass from fellow junior captain Victoria Tran and giving River Hill the, 1-0 lead at the half.
Chun doubled up the advantage for the Hawks with 15 minutes left in the second half, as sophomore Brigette Wang picked up the assist on the play.
Marriotts Ridge cut River Hill’s lead with less than a minute remaining in regulation, as sophomore Katie Thompson netted the goal – her third straight game with a score.
The Hawks played everyone on their roster for the first time all season on Tuesday. Sophomore Jules Grasso and freshman Alexa Thompson split time in net for River Hill, with Grasso finishing with two saves and Thompson with one stop in the win.
Junior Emma Meininger ended the afternoon with seven saves for Marriotts Ridge.
The Mustangs last regular season game is Thursday at Howard, while River Hill last game before postseason play is Friday night at home against Hammond.
Goals: RH – Chun 2; MR – Thompson.
Assists: RH – Tran, Wang.
Saves: RH – Grasso 2, Thompson 1; MR – Meininger 7.
Halftime: 1-0, River Hill.
Atholton (8-1-1 county, 10-2-1 overall) 3, Long Reach (1-6-3 county, 1-7-3 overall) 3 (Tuesday, Oct. 18)
A year ago, the Lightning pulled off a huge upset and knocked out the Raiders in the 3A playoffs. In the first matchup since that postseason game, Long Reach again surprised many around the county and came back from a two-goal deficit to tie Atholton, 3-3, preventing the Raiders from clinching the county title Tuesday.
“Atholton is a heck of a team. No wonder they are first place in the county. They are a very, very good team,” said Lightning coach Sam Haddad. “Our theme and our motto is always, ‘play hard and play with heart.’ Because heart cannot be measured with skill, heart is measured with effort and I am just very proud. Even though our season in the win-loss column has been a tough one for us, I am very proud of the effort these girls put in in every game that we’ve played. There wasn’t one game where they did not give me 100 percent even in games that we lost than more than one goal.”
Atholton took an early 2-0 lead into halftime, thanks to goals from senior Holley Edsall and freshman Keenan Proctor, assisted by senior Kelley Flynn and junior Victoria Huxtable, respectively.
The Lightning did not get discouraged from the early, 2-0, hole however, and cut into the Raiders lead shortly following the second half whistle, as sophomore Kaitlyn Carino put away a pass from sophomore Gabriela Cabrera.
But Atholton pressed hard to push their cushion back up to two, ultimately earning a penalty kick midway through the half. Tina Rogers stepped up and buried the penalty kick for the Raiders, giving them the, 3-1 advantage.
Haddad switched his lineup from just one forward up top, to two forwards, five midfielders and three defenders after getting back down by two goals and it worked to the Lightning ‘s benefit, giving them a jolt offensively.
“We discovered in the first half a weakness,” Haddad said. “They do not handle the diagonal ground ball very well, so we decided when we go out wide to serve balls in the box, low balls on the ground. It seemed like two goals got scored that way – two assists by the ball going through their entire back line and Kaitlin being on the other side, both times and scored.”
Long Reach netted both of its last two goals in the final 20 minutes of regulation. Carino added another to cut the score, 3-2, with junior captain Jessie Lee picking up the assist. Then junior Jada Lee added the equalizer, finishing off a pass from junior Busi Sokoya to tie the game up at 3-all.
Neither team could put away the golden goal in 20 minutes of extra time, resulting in the eventual, 3-3, tie – the first draw of the season for the Raiders.
For the Lightning, it’s been a rough, injury-riddled season, but they’ve played all their games tough, especially down the stretch. They are excited to get to the postseason with a clean slate.
“It’s been all year for us, with injuries and everything else, the biggest challenge for us was to keep the girls believing and motivated even though I know, and they know, they are being a little bit out matched skilled wise against other teams,” Haddad said. “Once the playoffs start it’s a new season for us. So my goal and what I’m trying to keep the girls motivated is that once the playoffs starts everyone is 0-0. So we’re going to keep playing hard and keep keeping games close and hopefully do well in the playoffs.”
Long Reach ends its season at home against Mt. Hebron, while Atholton’s last regular season game is also home against Wilde Lake. The Raiders need a tie or win to clinch sole possession of the county championship. A loss could create a possible tie with Centennial and or River Hill who also have just two losses and a tie in county play.
Goals: A – Edsall, Proctor, Rogers; LR – Karino 2, Ja. Lee.
Assists: A – Flynn, Huxtable; LR – Cabrera, Je. Lee, Sokoya
Saves: A – Bathras 4; LR – Moy 10
Halftime: 2-0, Atholton.
Wilde Lake (4-5-1 county, 5-5-1 overall) 2, Mt. Hebron (5-5 county, 7-6 overall) 0 (Tuesday, Oct. 18)
Manchester Valley (5-2-5) 4 Howard (6-2-2 county, 7-4-2 overall) 1 (Tuesday, Oct. 18)
Halftime: 3-0, Manchester Valley.
Pallotti (6-1 IAAM C, 9-2 overall) 2, Chapelgate (2-7 IAAM C, 2-10 overall) 0 (Tuesday, Oct. 18)
Maryvale (6-3-2 IAAM B, 6-8-2 overall) 1, Glenelg Country (4-5-1 IAAM B, 4-5-1 overall) 0 TK (Monday, Oct. 17)
Saves: GCS – Ahearn 11.