River Hill All-Metro senior forward Sheridan Street is graduating in December and heading to Syracuse early on a soccer scholarship.
She was adamant about adding one more high school accomplishment to her lengthy list before she leaves.
In Thursday night's Class 3A state championship game against Huntingtown, Street scored late in the first half and the No. 3 Hawks successfully defended their crown with a 1-0 win over the Hurricanes from Calvert County at UMBC Stadium.
It was the seventh goal of the playoffs and 15th on the season for Street. River Hill added to its state record in championships with its ninth.
“Being my senior year ... we knew we didn't want to go out with a loss,” Street said. “Last year, we were juniors, so obviously we wanted to win, but if we didn't we had another year. This year, this was our last game playing together and we wanted to win. I think that made me really nervous, but I think it helped a lot. I think it helped our team a lot, too. We really stepped up and played well.”
The Hawks ended the season with a 14-4-1 mark, while Huntingtown finished 16-2-1.
A first half dominated by tight marking and defense took a fast turn when Street got the ball at her end and went to work in the 32nd minute.
She collected a cleared ball 10 yards from midfield and made a long run down the left side. She went past a third defender, got inside the penalty area and finished from 12 yards with a neatly placed shot inside the near post.
Huntingtown pressed through stretches of the second half, particularly early, but the Hawks' defense wouldn't bend. The Hurricanes' best chances came with 26:30 to play when Erin Shamleffer had a shot that goalie Julia Caine was able to turn aside. Victoria Bellucci's follow shot from 8 yards shortly after went over the goal.
With under three minutes to play, Huntingtown's Sarah Osborne had the ball at her feet with the back to the goal, but three defenders were waiting as she tried to turn and shoot. The Hurricanes earned a corner kick in the final minute, and Christy Ims' header went wide, with the final whistle blowing shortly after.
Injuries on defense had a couple of players out of position for the Hawks, but they were able to stay composed to close out the win. Coach Brian Song said it was a collective defensive front led by junior Julianna Ball, who moved to sweeper from right back after Rebecca Higgins was injured in the first half.
The Hawks took a different path to this season's title game but found the same satisfying ending.
Last year, River Hill completed the program's first perfect season, going 19-0. This season, the Hawks were challenged with a difficult early-season schedule — losing their first two games to perennial private school powers Good Counsel and Bishop O'Connell High in Arlington, Va. — that primed them for the bigger moments later down the road. That was apparent with their poised play in the closing minutes Thursday night.
“I think the difficulty of our schedule throughout the regular season really helped us because we knew every game in the playoffs would be a battle,” Street said. “So we came into every playoff game playing hard, we came back from losing scores and I just think the difficulty of our season really helped us out in the playoffs.”
Class 3A final
3 River Hill 1, Huntingtown 0
Goals: RH — Street
Saves: RH — Caine 3; H — Chapman 2
Half: RH, 1-0Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun