The South River field hockey team opened its season Saturday morning with a new head coach, a slew of new starters and more than a few question marks.
About seven hours later, the No. 4 Seahawks had found all the right answers.
Following a lopsided opening-round win over the Academy of the Holy Cross, defending Class 4A state champion South River scored three goals in a six-minute span early in the first half, then held off No. 2 Glenelg the rest of the way in a 3-1 win in the final of the South River Invitational.
Despite losing 12 seniors from a year ago, the Seahawks dominated a tournament that included three of The Baltimore's Sun's top four teams.
"Our team is definitely young this year … but personally I think we're just as good," South River junior Kayla White said.
But on a day when each of the Baltimore area's top three teams lost, it was the play of South River that made the loudest statement.
Facing the three-time defending Class 2A state champion Gladiators, the Seahawks (2-0) dominated play during the game's opening minutes, swarming around the cage and firing off shot after shot.
"It was a good effort in the first few minutes," said South River coach Megan Atkinson said, a former assistant who took over this season. "They were going to score, and they came out and put a few balls in the cage."
Junior Emily Szachnowicz put the Seahawks on top 4:28 into the game, redirecting a shot by teammate Anna Wagner. Just 35 seconds later, midfielder Maddy Ulery stole the ball about 30 yards out and sent it toward the cage, where White then scored from in front.
South River sophomore Emily Thomas, who left the game later in the half due to a broken collarbone, made it 3-0 by deflecting a hard shot off a Glenelg defender and into the goal from 10 yards out.
Senior Stephanie Asher scored in the second half for the Gladiators.
"They were really pumped to try and make this the year that they beat South River, but they got a little frazzled after that first goal and just panicked a little bit," Glenelg coach Ginger Kincaid said about her team. "When you panic against a team like this and play out of sync at all, you're going to pay for it."
No. 3 Bryn Mawr 3, Holy Cross 0: After failing to score in a first-round loss to Glenelg earlier in the day, Bryn Mawr (1-1) salvaged its day by defeating Holy Cross, from Montgomery County, in the consolation game. Senior Rachel Park had a goal and two assists in the victory.
"I'm pretty excited for the season," Bryn Mawr coach Jeanette Budzik said. "There's a lot of resilience out there and a lot of skill."
No. 4 South River 6, Holy Cross 0: In a first-round game, South River got three goals from Szachnowicz and two goals and two assists from White for the win over the Tartans.
No. 2 Glenelg 3, No. 3 Bryn Mawr 0: Junior Megan Taylor had a goal and an assist as the Gladiators pulled away from the Mawrtians with two second-half goals in an opening-round game.
South River Invitational
South River 6, Holy Cross 0
Goals: SR-E. Szachnowicz 3, White 2, Thomas. Assists: SR-White 2, Wagner, Mazzatenta. Saves: HC-Mauck 15; SR-Johnson 1, Ulery 3. Half: South River, 3-0.
Glenelg 3, Bryn Mawr 0
Goals: G-Pelkey, Philie, Taylor. Assists: G-Taylor. Saves: G-Hoyt 3, Frost 4; BM-Johnson 8. Half: Glenelg, 1-0.
Bryn Mawr 3, Holy Cross 0
Goals: BM-Hart, Park, Brown. Assists: BM-Park 2, Blaze. Saves: BM=Johnson 7; HC=Mauck 16. Half: Bryn Mawr, 2-0.
South River 3, Glenelg 1
Goals: G-Asher; SR-E. Szachnowicz, White, Thomas. Assists: SR-M. Ulery,
Saves: G-Hoyt 3, Frost 1; SR-Johnson 14. Half: South River, 3-0.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun