Having 10 days off might be helpful to some teams, but not the dominant River Hill girls' soccer squad.
Coach Brian Song said his team played a "C game," and looked flat, but it still turned out to be just enough as the Hawks were able to hold off visiting Reservoir, 1-0, to advance in the 3A East playoffs Tuesday afternoon.
"It's playoffs," said Jessica Hopkins. "Everybody comes with their 'A' game against River Hill. ... We came out extremely flat, and we warmed up really flat so I just think it kind of showed."
River Hill looked uninspired from the start, and it was the Gators that produced more touches in the final third through the first 20 minutes. Neither team seriously threatened to score a goal until late in the first half.
"The first half, I don't know if it's jitterness ... it just wasn't there," Song said.
But, as the Hawks have done all season and in each of their county games, they battled through the adversity and found the back of the net.
The lone goal of the game came with 11:35 remaining in the first half, when Jessica Hopkins got behind her defender and dribbled down the left side. Her hard cross on the ground to the near-post found a streaking Victoria Tran, who touched it past the contesting Reservoir freshman goalkeeper Janie Romer.
"Out of the corner of my eye I saw some orange cleats and I was like, 'Oh, there's Vic,'" Hopkins said. "I knew a ball on the ground right to her foot, hopefully she would finish it and she did. It was a really great finish by Vic. I'm proud of her."
"Unfortunately, [Jessica] has been playing hurt all season," Song said. "So any mileage I get out of her is a big plus. That was her 17th or 18th assist already, so even with one leg she's better than a lot of players out here. It's fortunate for me I have such a quality ball player."
The goal was the result of River Hill's game plan. Song said he has a small team and they have to create chances on the outside. Song pressed his team to win the ball in the midfield and play the ball wide to create more chances.
At halftime, Song told his team to forget about the sloppy first half.
"The first half is over. Can't change it," said Song about his message to his team. "But I know that's not how we're capable of playing, that's not the quality of our play, and let's take a little ownership."
Despite not scoring in the second half, the Hawks came out with more energy and dominated possession.
Song said he is looking forward to practicing on Wednesday and preparing his team for a tougher game on Oct 30 against Wilde Lake.
"Hopefully we learn from this and we have a good day of practice tomorrow and we go from there," Song said. "Thursday's game is probably going to be much faster and much more competitive. Those 50-50 balls, it's going to be much tougher than today."
Reservoir had several chances to take an early lead or tie the game but was unable to finish. With 21 minutes left in the game, a long-range shot from senior midfielder Anna Janush looked to be heading into the upper-left corner, but was ultimately tipped over the bar by River Hill's goalkeeper Julia Caine.
"As a coach, there's nothing I can say when they play that hard, so it's tough," Reservoir coach Phil Ranker said. "When you play River Hill, obviously they're a good team and can make you pay. They got that one chance and it's unfortunate what happened, but I couldn't be more proud of the way [our team] came out. ... For the seniors, I know I'll never be able to question if they could have given any more effort in their last game."
Glenelg Country 8, Indian Creek 0 (IAAM C)
The Dragons got goals from six different players to improve to 13-0 and move on to the conference semifinals. Sabrina DeLeonibus and Deja Hursey each scored twice and tallied an assist.
Kara Bruzdzinski scored on a header on Fern Peters' corner kick in the 32nd minute, and Peters added to the lead with a penalty kick in the 44th minute. Nia Elbeck's 14th goal of the season came two minutes later, and Ella Orzechowski made it 4-0 in the 54th minute. Freshman goalkeeper Alex Konzmann had 12 saves in the win. The Lions will face top-seeded Sherwood in the regional semifinals for the second straight year on Oct. 31st.
Marriotts Ridge 2, Patuxent 0 (2A South)
Alexis Zadjura scored a goal in each half to lead the Mustangs to the regional semifinals. They will face top-seeded Calvert at 6 p.m. Oct. 31st.