The McDonogh girls soccer team proved a little better in every phase against River Hill on Saturday and the final score reflected just that.
The No. 3 Eagles pressured consistently in the first half — rewarded with a goal from junior Julia Dorsey — and was able to stay a step ahead the rest of the way to claim a 1-0 win over the No. 4 Hawks on the second and final day of the River Hill Tournament in Clarksville.
Coming off a 5-0 win over Leonardtown at River Hill on Friday, McDonogh improved to 2-1-1 overall. After falling to Good Counsel, 3-1, on Friday, the Hawks are now 0-2 on the season.
Day-to-day improvement is one of the goals for both teams and each showed that Saturday. For the Eagles, they wanted to come out fast after a sluggish first half against Leonardtown on Friday. They did just that to set the game’s tone and earn the positive result.
“Yesterday, our first half was really shaky. We were putting in the effort, but just not connecting, so today we wanted to start off strong,” said Dorsey, who scored with 15 minutes left in the half on the Eagles’ fifth corner kick.
“The goal came from us getting into the attack, winning those corners. We probably should have capitalized more, but it was good to get the one in. It was a great ball from Lilly McCarthy. I told her, ‘I’m going near post and can beat them,’ and she played a great ball and I was lucky to get a piece of it.”
Dorsey had a lot of time with the ball to create numerous chances, but the Hawks defense stayed sturdy most of the way.
A quality ball served in by McCarthy and good anticipation from Dorsey made for the breakthrough.
Spending most of the time on defense, the Hawks’ limited chances came on counters, but they proved dangerous.
With the game still scoreless at the midway point of the first half, Hawks junior midfielder Brigette Wang made a strong run through the middle, made a sharp cut to set up her left foot and then hit a shot from 16 yards that was handled by goalie Abigail Van Metre.
The Hawks created more chances in the second half – Victoria Tran and Wang the catalysts — but the Eagles stayed composed to secure the win.
After inconsistent play on defense against Good Counsel on Friday, the Hawks wanted to play more cohesive in back Saturday, and did just that. Senior defender Carly Wetzel led the more defensive effort with goalie Alexa Thompson coming up with eight saves. River Hill coach Brian Song welcomes the challenge of playing the stronger private schools early in the season to prepare for league play and the postseason.
“Big difference from yesterday,” Song said. “You learn from it, you learn something from each game. Our girls responded very well to what we worked on and there was great improvement, so I’m happy.”
At halftime, the game was delayed for 30-plus minutes when a spectator collapsed and had to be taken to Howard County General Hospital by ambulance. He was responsive as he left the stadium.
River Hill Tournament
3 McDonogh 1, 4 River Hill 0
Goals: M-- Dorsey
Assists: M -- McCarthy
Saves: M – Van Metre 3; RH – Thompson 8
Half: RH, 1-0