River Hill senior Sheridan Street was stumped by a question recently, so she looked to teammate Alex Hamer for help.
That's nothing new. Hamer, a junior, has provided Street with plenty of assists on the soccer field during the past two-plus seasons they've played together for the Hawks. But they hesitated when asked just how many goals Street had scored on those assists.
"I don't know if I even want to take a guess," said Hamer as she looked to her teammate.
"We don't want to say too many," Street said with laugh.
The pair decided on 15. The correct answer was 18. It was a rare misfire.
As the most dangerous scoring tandem in the metro area, Street and Hamer bring skill, a relentless work ethic and unselfish play to No. 5 River Hill.
Most important, the standout forwards – Street an All-Metro first-team selection and Hamer a second-team pick last year – have been instrumental in bringing home win after win for the defending Class 3A state champion Hawks.
"They just click," senior defender Callie Allen said. "They know the way they play and are always in the right spots, always open for each other and they finish off their opportunities.
"We know that whenever one of them gets the ball, we always have an opportunity to score. They're always the ones that pull through with the goals at the end of games, so we really count on them."
How dependable are Street and Hamer?
In last year's 19-0 season, at least one of them recorded a goal or an assist in every game but the state title game – a 1-0 win over C. Milton Wright – and they both recorded points in 13 games.
Street, who finished with 22 goals and nine assists, had a goal in 16 games and had two or more in five. Hamer, who totaled 10 goals and 16 assists, had a goal or an assist in 15 games and enjoyed three two-goal games and four multiple-assist efforts.
Shutting down one dominating forward is tough enough, but two?
"They know each other's thoughts, their runs, where they'll be, and unless you have a tight hold on both, it's hard to get a win against River Hill," Marriotts Ridge coach Robin Grey said. "And they're so willing to share the spotlight to benefit their team, which says great things about the two of them."
The pair has shown an ability to do just about anything on the soccer field, but one scene in particular has become common: Hamer making a strong run with the ball down the right side while Street is simultaneously running to the front of the goal.
"I know when she's going to cross it and where she's going to cross it, so my only thought is to make sure to get there because I don't want to miss out on a scoring chance," said Street, a four-year starter who has 47 goals and 18 assists in her career.
Said Hamer, a three-year starter with 16 goals and 26 assists: "I'm just thinking 'OK, where's Sheridan's feet?'"
A River Hill goal often comes next.
"Alex can turn with the ball and take off, and Sheridan makes those runs with Alex all the way through, whether she gets the ball or not," River Hill coach Brian Song said. "Both girls keep going until the play is complete, and that's so important. It's been a blessing."
After playing midfield in her freshman year, Street knew she would move up to forward as a sophomore, but had no idea who would run with her. Word quickly spread that Hamer might be the one.
"I first heard about Alex before tryouts," Street said. "Everyone was saying 'This girl Alex, you have to check her out – she's good.' I was like, 'Mmm…I don't know. We'll see.'
"My first impression after seeing her play was 'Yeah, she's pretty good.' I was happy to have such a good striker to work with."
Communication was the key early, as they let each other know when to play the ball to feet, into space or make the smart runs to make room for each other. After playing in their first tournament together, Street said they were on the same page.
Now, playing together is second nature.
Hamer said Street is "fearless with the ball, creative and not afraid to challenge anybody." Street is just as complimentary when she says Hamer "always works hard with or without the ball and has a great soccer IQ."
Their bond and mutual respect is further highlighted when each are asked about any memorable moments they've enjoyed playing for the Hawks. Street, who is set to play at Syracuse next year, talks about the time she gave Hamer a pass and watched her beat a defender and find the upper 90 for a nifty goal against Atholton. Hamer recalls last year's game against Marriotts Ridge when Street collected a pass from her and found a corner for a tone-setting goal in the opening minutes.
"Sheridan has pushed me to be a better player," Hamer said. "And I think our relationship is different from anyone on the team because there's only two starting forwards. You have three or four midfielders or defenders playing, but there's only two of us, so we're always doing half the work.
"When you're working with someone who is putting in the time with hard work and has a common goal of winning, it's special."
The Hawks started the season with losses to perennial private school powers Good Counsel and Bishop O'Connell of Arlington, Va., at the highly-touted McDonogh Invitational before opening their Howard County schedule with a 1-0 win over Reservoir last week, in which Hamer scored with four minutes left.
Street then provided one goal and one assist in Tuesday's 3-0 win over Oakland Mills. Although the team can't match last year's undefeated season, River Hill remains in position to win the program's ninth state title.
"We just want to play really well and pick up where we left off," Street said. "Last year, our seniors set the bar really high, and we want to maintain that."
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