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River Hill boys soccer crushes Calvert, 8-0, to win 2A South region championship

HOWARD COUNTY, MD — When River Hill boys soccer last won a regional title in 2014, the Hawks needed back-to-back shootout victories over county rivals Reservoir and Mt. Hebron to prevail.

The road to this year’s 2A South regional championship started in similar fashion, as they edged Wilde Lake, 2-0, and then got past Oakland Mills in penalty kicks in the regional semifinals on Nov. 3.

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But on Tuesday against an unfamiliar opponent in Calvert, River Hill made it look way too easy in cold and rainy conditions.

The host Hawks (14-1-2) had seven different goal scorers and scored on their first two shots of the game to bury the Cavaliers, 8-0, and win their 13th-ever regional championship.

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Their eight goals set a season-best and is their largest margin of victory this year. It’s also the their fourth consecutive shutout.

“We don’t usually score that many goals, but I’m more proud of the zero we gave up. I’m really, really pleased with that because defending is a team effort,” River Hill coach Matt Shagogue said. “... We were able to take advantage early and it kind of built. Three turned into five, and the reserves came on and five turned into eight.

“It was great. This has been three months in the making.”

River Hill gets goals from Cory Northrup and Evan Doten en route to 2-0 shutout victory over visiting Wilde Lake in the 2A South region quarterfinals on Tuesday, Oct. 31.

Freshman Jonah Stoutenborough scored twice in the second half while Rohan Dalal, Andrew Donker, Justin Harris, Aaron Hirsh, Aashish Balani and Austin Weltz also found the back of the net. Shagogue added that he “definitely” was surprised by the final result and how many guys scored in what was the biggest game of the year so far.

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“I think that is what our team is about. I think our leading scorer has nine goals, maybe, and it spread out great,” he said. “That to me is the sign of a complete team.”

Calvert coach Jim Wojchiechowski said River Hill was “without a doubt” the best team his Cavaliers (12-6) have played this season.

“Just a well executed game by River Hill,” he said. “You can’t take anything away from them, they came out from start to finish, set the tone, set the pace. We could never get into our game.”

Shagogue said getting the opportunity to play a team outside of the county for the first time since Sept. 9 was one of the biggest keys to victory.

“The county is a grind. It’s a different monster all together,” he said. “You get through them somehow any way you can, and then you’re ready to face different teams. But it certainly doesn’t get any easier from here.”

Dalal got the Hawks on the board less than seven minutes into the game on their first shot. A Calvert defender cleared a free kick in the box and Dalal ran onto the loose ball, and from 40-yards out, his shot took a bounce and beat Cavaliers goalie Kevin Pitcher to the bottom-left corner of goal.

Donker pushed the lead to 2-0 three minutes later. He put away his shot from the middle of the box into the bottom-left corner after a cross by Harris.

Harris added a goal to his assist with 17 minutes, 40 seconds left in the first half to blow the game open. He found the loose ball, made a slight move and calmly placed his shot across goal into the same spot as the first two — the bottom-left corner — to extend the advantage to 3-0, which remained the score at the break.

Stoutenborough’s first goal less than four minutes into the second half made it 4-0, and his second with 16:22 remaining sparked a three-goal spree in the span of 3 minutes, 37 seconds.

The victory completed a perfect day for Howard County soccer. Atholton and River Hill girls won titles in their respective regions while Centennial boys won the 3A East regional championship with an overtime victory at J.M. Bennett.

The Hawks will face the winner of Fallston-Kent Island at River Hill on Saturday for a chance to play in their 11th state championship.

Centennial 4, J.M. Bennett 3 2OT

At the end of a back-and-forth game that went two overtimes, Hamzah Elhabashy scored off a free kick to help the Eagles win and secure the program’s first region championship since 1996.

J.M. Bennett had started the scoring 15 minutes into the first half, but Centennial answered five minutes later courtesy of a goal by Elhabashy off an assist from Nick Haskins. The score stayed 1-1 going into halftime.

In the second half, Bennett again took the lead but the Eagles had an immediate answer when Haskins scored off a feed from Nick Good. Then Centennial took its first lead on a goal by Matt Merkey to make it 3-2.

Before the end of regulation, J.M. Bennett scored on a penalty kick to tie the game at 3-3 and force overtime.

Centennial advances to face the winner of Great Mills and Potomac at Linganore High School on Saturday in the 3A state semifinals.

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