Defending Maddie Vasilios and Puja Nanjappa is difficult enough.
Add Claire Slade into the mix, and River Hill field hockey is almost impossible slow down.
Slade scored River Hill’s first and fourth goals — with two scores by Vasilios sandwiched in between — to lead the Hawks to a 4-1 win over visiting Marriotts Ridge on Monday.
“She’s been playing great all season, but this was hands down her best game today,” said River Hill coach Shelly Chamness about Slade. “She’s so fast and aggressive.”
With Vasilios, the Howard County spring 2021 Player of the Year and a University of Maryland commit, and Nanjappa, a two-time first-team All-County midfielder, drawing much of the opposing teams’ attention, Slade has taken a step up this season as one of the top scorers in the county.
Through five county games, the senior forward has eight goals — second on her team behind Vasilios (11). As a team, the Hawks are averaging five goals per game against county foes.
“It’s been a great start to the season,” Slade said. “I think the teamwork of finding the open pass has been huge for us. Puja and Maddie have really great hits. They hit it up to the forwards, which gives us a lot of space to dodge the defenders and score.”
The win over the previously undefeated Mustangs improves River Hill to 5-0 in county play. The Hawks now sit alone in first place, but winning the county outright is no easy feat in Howard County’s Division A. River Hill plays traditional powerhouse Glenelg on Wednesday and will play both the Gladiators and the Mustangs again in October.
Slade opened the game at River Hill High with a goal 10 minutes into the contest.
“We wanted to get that leg up,” Slade said. “To have the momentum in this important game gave us a positive mindset.”
Vasilios then scored two goals in the second quarter. The first was a penalty stroke that the Hawks earned after Marriotts Ridge fouled Slade two minutes into the period, and the second displayed the junior’s talent as a scorer.
“She’s amazing. She’s amazing every day,” Chamness said. “Half the time I don’t even know how she does what she does.”
Slade’s second goal came in the third quarter when she deflected a Nanjappa shot during a penalty corner.
Despite trailing 4-0 through three quarters, Marriotts Ridge (3-1) didn’t give up. The Mustangs controlled the pace during the final period, with Maisy Clevenger scoring midway through the quarter.
“This is a team that will battle and fight no matter what’s going on,” said Marriotts Ridge coach Molly Milani. “Obviously we don’t want to dig ourselves a hole like we did today, but one thing this team does well is fight to the end. We need to play the way we played in the fourth quarter for all 60 minutes.”
Chamness was impressed with the way her defense — led by goalie Jocelyn Baker and defenders Mayzie Connelly, Molly Corriere and Evelyn Dzubak — played.
“We marked them. I think our point was to try to frustrate them,” Chamness said. “We knew they’d still move the ball down the field, but we didn’t want any open free hits going to them. We really covered them.”
River Hill 4, Marriotts Ridge 1
Goals: RH — Claire Slade 2, Maddie Vasilios 2; MR — Maisy Clevenger
Assists: RH — Puja Nanjappa.
Saves: RH — Jocelyn Baker 5; MR — Amanda Windsor 5.
Halftime: 3-0, RH.
Records: RH 5-0 county, 6-1 overall; MR 3-1.
OTHER FIELD HOCKEY SCORES:
Hammond 1, Oakland Mills 0
Hannah Haber scored the game’s lone goal to lead the Golden Bears (4-2) to the victory over the host Scorpions (0-5).
Glenelg 6, Howard 1
The Gladiators bounced back from their loss last week to Marriotts Ridge with the blowout win over the visiting Lions. Five different Gladiators scored in the win, including Theresa Stiller, who scored twice.
Goals: G — Theresa Stiller 2, Skyler Rill, AJ Eyre, Kamryn Henson, Brinkley Eyre; Ho — N/A.
Assists: G — A. Eyre 2, Rill, Sophie Cipolla.
Records: G 4-1; Ho 0-5.
Wilde Lake 5, Long Reach 0
The Wildecats earned their fourth straight win with the blowout win over the Lightning. Liana Mullican scored a hat trick in the victory, while Wilde Lake’s defense allowed only one shot on goal.
Goals: WL — Liana Mullican 3, Brianna Floyd, Debbie Perez-Rivas.
Assists: WL — Perez-Rivas, Floyd.
Saves: WL — Andrea Sikora 1.
Halftime: 2-0, WL.
Records: WL 3-1, 5-1; LR 0-3, 0-4.
Mt. Hebron 3, Reservoir 2
Long Reach def. Charles H. Flowers — 3-0 [25-18, 25-13, 25-18]
Long Reach stats: Allison Brown (2 aces, 6 kills, 8 digs), Natalie Jeon (15 assists, 1 dig), Isabella Mora (1 ace, 10 kills, 1 assist, 5 digs), Hayley Norton (2 aces, 1 kill, 10 assists, 1 dig), Mia Rubio (2 aces, 8 digs), Toni Shaw (2 aces, 5 kills).
Centennial 63, Mt. Hebron 44
C (4-0): Ty Beck-Winter 20, Dustin Stocksdale 19, Mason Roque 17, Tyler Longwell 7.
MH (1-2): Tyler Kang 13, Chris Bone 13, Ethan Kang 11, Gavin Fleck 7.
Centennial 48, Mt. Hebron 29
C (3-1): Reagan Hubbard 20, Sanika Shah 14, Hannah Fang 12, Lanting Zhu 2.
MH (0-3): Julia Morton 10, Danielle Bodziak 7, Katie Katcheves 6, Sophia Wang 6.
Don’t see scores or stats from your favorite team? Send results and any game information to Jacob Meyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.