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Megan Chun nets overtime goal, pushes River Hill girls soccer past Calvert for 2A South title

River Hill girls soccer coach Brian Song’s proudest moment in his team’s 3-2 overtime win Tuesday came with under seven minutes to play and his team on the brink of elimination.

Despite dominating the run of play, it faced a rare deficit after Calvert scored to go up 2-1 with 6:48 left remaining. The Hawks, having won four state titles the past five years, were in danger of bowing out in the 2A South final.

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Less than a minute later, they tied the game.

“In the past, if we’re down by a goal … you could see their body language and their heads down,” Song said. “They picked the ball up, marched straight down and scored within like one minute.”

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Fifty-five seconds to be exact. That’s how long it took junior Brigette Wang to net the equalizer, her second goal of the game. Then, with 10 seconds left in the first overtime, senior Megan Chun ended the cold and rainy match by knocking home her own rebound into an empty net.

Once again, River Hill could celebrate a regional championship.

“The feeling is indescribable,” Chun said. “I guess it’s being in the right place at the right time. I knew it had to go in. I knew that going into it. We were all so, so excited. It was just what we needed.”

By surviving, River Hill (15-2) keeps its hopes of winning a fifth state title in six years alive. The Hawks will host the state semifinal match Saturday against either Fallston or Queen Anne's, who will face off Wednesday night.

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With senior Megan Chun leading the way, River Hill earned a 2-0 win over Wilde Lake on Nov. 3. The Hawks will host Calvert in the 2A South final on Nov. 7.

Late in the first extra period, Chun saw senior Cairo Taylor with the ball and knew, as an outside midfielder, that she needed to space the field. She started running out wide, toward the right sideline, and Taylor hit her with a through ball. It got past the Calvert defense, leaving Chun alone with the goalkeeper.

But Chun had been in a similar position earlier in the match and failed to convert.

After Wang put her team up, 1-0, late in the first half, River Hill pushed to extend its lead after intermission. One of its golden scoring opportunities came with 28 minutes to play.

Senior Victoria Tran sneaked a pass past the Cavaliers backline that found Chun, who was 1-on-1 with freshman Kalli Williams. A juke left Williams on the ground and Chun all alone, but the Hawks’ captain slipped on the wet turf during her shot attempt. The ball dribbled wide of the net.

It marked the second time in the period a River Hill player went down while facing an empty net. In regulation, the Hawks put 13 shots on goal and scored just twice.

In overtime, Chun had a chance to help them forget those failed scoring chances. Instead, her initial shot continued the trend, clanking off the right crossbar as the first extra period came to a close.

“It looked like she was going to go to the near post, which she did, just like what we practiced,” Song said. “And then it hit the goalpost … and I’m thinking to myself, ‘how many goalposts are we going to hit today?”

Chun’s near goal exemplified River Hill’s play around the net throughout the game. Aside from a few minutes, the Hawks dominated the first half and entered intermission with a one-goal lead. They continued to push forward in the second frame, creating even more chances than before, and found themselves in a 2-1 hole in the match’s final moments.

That’s because unlike River Hill, Calvert converted almost all of its quality second-half chances.

Hawks junior Danielle Poindexter and senior Carly Wetzel headlined a defensive unit that thwarted the Cavaliers offense for most of the game. But on one of River Hill’s only miscues, sophomore Kayleigh Venis tied the game on a strike from the left side with about 15 minutes to play. Senior Calle Garneau followed that up with the go-ahead goal with less than 10 minutes to play.

After falling, 2-1, to River Hill in the 2A title game last year, Calvert was in a prime position to unseat the defending 2A state champions a few rounds early.

“Fantastic game,” Cavaliers coach John Baker said. “To get down against a great team like River Hill, they fought back, took a lead and played great. It was end to end in the overtime. The conditions were rough, so to play in this all night long, I really told them it was fantastic. It’s been a really good season for them.”

River Hill’s recent state playoff success means it isn’t very used to trailing in the postseason. But upon allowing the second goal, it immediately regrouped. Song said the captains — Tran, Wetzel and Chun — brought the team together and emphasized focusing on netting the equalizer. The Hawks, in response, had one player retrieve the ball from their own net and were ready to restart play.

Wang tied the game less than a minute later.

Once the game entered overtime, Song was confident his team would prevail. But for a moment, it appeared River Hill and Calvert would need a second extra period to decide the outcome. There were about 15 seconds to play in the first frame when Chun’s shot hit off the post.

Fortunately for River Hill, the ball deflected back towards Chun, who Song said attacked it instead of letting it come to her. Two Calvert defenders were in pursuit, but she got off her rebound attempt before they could adequately position themselves in front of the open net.

By the time they arrived, the championship-clinching goal was sailing over their heads and past the end line.

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