The expectations were high for the Roland Park Country School field hockey team entering the season and the talent level depleted after the Reds lost eight seniors to graduation.
But Roland Park showed flashes of excellence in the second game of the season against Centennial Tuesday and cruised to a 4-0 victory at Centennial High School.
Senior forward Mollie Keyser scored two goals to lead the Reds (2-0) and teammates Louisa Huber and Andi Weinberg each added one.
"This is a team that loves one another and plays for each other," Roland Park first-year coach Amy Popp said. "I think that shows on the field with their off-the-ball movement and communicating with each other throughout entire the game. They want to score and are they are hungry for goals even when they are hot."
The heat concerned Popp and Centennial coach Tara Carr.
The game was played in four 15-minute quarters instead two halves in order to give the players more breaks.
Carr, whose team opened the season by losing to Towson and beating Leonardtown in the Centennial Field Hockey Tournament, said the 90-degree plus temperature had a negative impact on her team.
"They were unprepared for the game and the heat," she said. "They definitely could have come out stronger, but you have these games. It's the beginning of the season and (we're) still trying to mesh."
Roland Park outshot the Eagles, 25-6, and held an 11-3 advantage in penalty corners.
The Reds certainly kept junior goalie Jenna Dietrich and the defense of Bella Brillante, Alana Morgante and Annabel Baldy busy.
Huber, stationed near the right post, knocked the ball past Dierich for a 1-0 advantage with 6:02 remaining in the second quarter on a crossing pass from Weinberg, a senior midfielder.
The Reds didn't take long to score in the second half. Keyser slapped the ball past Dietrich from about five yards out less than two minute into play.
Catherine Knipp was credited with the assist.
"They have great stick work and their pass sequences that are small triangles were very well done," Carr said. "We didn't repond well to it and make any adjustments."
Weinberg and Keyser capped Roland Park's scoring with fourth-quarter goals 7:01 apart.
"(A 2-0 start) gives us momentum as we move into IAAM A Conference play," said Popp, whose team started the season with a 1-0 victory over St. Paul's School for Girls last week.