With possession along the right side in the final minute of a tie game, River Hill freshman forward Alexandria Hamer wanted to get the ball to a more dangerous area in front.
She did even better.
Using the outside of her right foot, she sent a firm ball that bent just inside the upper far post, scoring a goal that provided the No. 4 Hawks with a thrilling 2-1 win over No. 7 Centennial on Tuesday in Clarksville.
With the win, River Hill (10-2-1 overall) improves to 9-0-1 in Howard County and can capture the county title with a win or tie against Atholton in Thursday's regular-season finale. The visiting Eagles, who got a tying goal from freshman Anna Mitchell with just under four minutes left, fell for the first time and are 10-1-2 overall and 7-1-2 in league play.
"We wanted it really bad because it was the senior game," Hamer said. "We never stopped working until there were three zeros on the clock, so it was great. I meant to get it in the box and see if we could get anything on it, but it went in. I was like, 'Yes, we won!' It felt great."
After River Hill senior Elizabeth Bamber scored on a penalty kick to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead with 30 minutes left, the Eagles pressed for the tying goal with a number of quality scoring chances that went for naught. With 17 minutes left, senior forward Jordan Coburn chased down a ball and was temporarily free before Colleen McKenna recovered to negate the opportunity. With eight minutes to play, Darby Sinunu got behind the Hawks' defense, but her shot from 14 yards was saved by goalie Carly Brunett.
Finally, the Eagles, who had the better of the play for much of the first half, were rewarded with their persistent play forward when Mitchell fired a heavy left-footed shot from 20-plus yards that found the right corner.
Despite the team's first loss, Centennial coach Steve Baxter found plenty of positives as his Eagles stayed step for step with perennial power River Hill.
"I thought we created quite a bit more opportunities," Baxter said. "When we pushed to a 4-4-3 [formation] once we went down, we were definitely dangerous, and we got the tying goal and we stayed with it. We're happy with how they played — they played their hearts out," he said.
Goals: C—Mitchell; RH—Bamber, Hamer.
Saves: C—Donegan 6; RH—Brunett 4.