The MPSSAA Class 3A field hockey quarterfinal between River Hill and Franklin got off to a slow start.
The 4 p.m. start time was pushed back more than 30 minutes due to River Hill’s bus getting into a minor accident on the way to the game. No one was injured, but head coach Shelly Chamness said the situation affected her team to start the game.
“We only had 20 minutes to warm up, and you could tell there wasn’t any fun going on during our warm-up," Chamness said. "It showed a little in the first half. We weren’t our usual selves.”
The Hawks, however, found their rhythm midway through the first half en route to a 2-0 win over host Franklin to advance to the state semifinals.
“It was a little scary,” said sophomore Claire Slade of the accident. “I think it affected us in the beginning, because we were worried that we didn’t have a lot of warm-up time. Once we got going we realized we had it and could win the game.”
The Hawks are two wins away from a state championship. After a 7-3-1 regular season and a second-place finish in Howard County, Chamness’ young squad has won three straight games in the playoffs by scores of 6-0, 6-2 and 2-0.
No. 6 @AthleticsRHHS moves onto the MPSSAA Class 3A semifinals. Hawks will play the winner of No. 2 Urbana and No. 7 Great Mills (6 pm tonight) in the semis on Wednesday, Nov. 6, at Paint Branch High School. pic.twitter.com/q05834pijd
“We’re a young team. We only have two seniors starting, but the girls are all so good,” Chamness said. “...One of two things happen at the end of the season. They’re either all sick of playing and they want to be done, or it’s like a whole renewal. They love each other, and they’re all happy and having fun.”
No. 6 River Hill (10-4-1) will play No. 2 Urbana (14-1), which defeated Great Mills, 9-0, in the quarterfinals, on Wednesday, Nov. 6, at Paint Branch High School in the state semis.
Neither team scored in the first 22 minutes on the cold, windy afternoon in Reisterstown. The Hawks controlled possession, but the Hawks didn’t draw many corners and couldn’t find the back of the cage.
Senior Quinn Kindbom, an Indiana University commit, fired a shot off a corner insert from Ashlee Buscher that was nicked by the Indians’ goalkeeper but squeaked into the cage. The goal was Kindbom’s 16th of the season and Buscher’s eighth assist.
Chamness said the Hawks struggled scoring early in the season, but Kindbom and company have picked up the output recently with 44 goals in their last 10 games.
“When you have a couple of games when you don’t score, you feel pressed to score,” Chamness said. “But now they don’t just believe they have to score; they want to score.”
After entering halftime up 1-0, Slade flicked a Kindbom shot off a corner into the cage to put the Hawks up 2-0 with 19 minutes remaining. The goal was Slade’s fourth of the postseason, which is the same total as the sophomore had all regular season.
“Every practice, every game I learn something new,” said Slade. “As you go on, you learn more and more, and I think that’s helped me.”
Slade added the Hawks’ scoring depth opens every player up to score goals. While Kindbom leads the team with 41 points, five other players have double-digit points.
GOAL @RiverHillFH. @Q_25_fh’s shot off a corner is deflected to Claire Slade, who flicks the ball into the back of the cage. 8th goal of season for Slade, and 4th is the postseason. Hawks lead 2-0 with 19 minutes left. pic.twitter.com/LAUhjoWH7Y
“Say a team scouts you, they can’t just mark one girl,” Slade said. “We have a lot of girls who can score.”
The time of the Hawks’ game against Urbana is to be determined. Come playoff time, Chamness said, hockey is more about players than game plans.
“I know they’re (14-1) and that they’re a good team, but other than that I don’t know much,” Chamness said. “It’s nice to know a little something about who you have to mark, but you also just have to go out and play your game. We just have to play our game.”