Racing down the right sideline early in overtime of a scoreless game against Glenelg Wednesday, River Hill's Quinn Kindbom admitted she hadn't mapped anything out in her head.
The strategy, as she put it, was to just "keep pushing, keep pushing," and to get as close to goal as she could. So when that run led her all the way to the top of the circle, she decided she might as well take a chance.
"I got into the circle and I just took a big swing. The ball came off my stick and went into the goal," said Kindbom, whose score came with 6:55 left in the first overtime period. "When the ball hit the backboard, I looked at Gaby [Hamburger] … because we didn't know if it was going to get called back. Once the ref [pointed, though] we knew it was a goal and just celebrated."
The sudden-victory goal helped River Hill (6-1, 10-3-1) secure a share of this year's county championship with Marriotts Ridge (6-1, 8-6). It's the first county title for the Hawks program since 2008.
"This is just so amazing and these girls just have so much character and are such hard workers," River Hill coach Shelly Chamness said. "In some ways, maybe our loss to Marriotts Ridge a couple weeks ago was a good thing, because I've seen such a new determination since then. They wanted this so bad."
On the other side, Glenelg (5-2, 8-4) suffered its second 1-0 loss in as many days to fall one game short of securing the program's 10th consecutive county championship. Gladiators' coach Nikki Trunzo said she was proud of her team, which outshot River Hill 19-5, even though the result did not go their way.
"This is an awesome team that has worked super hard in practice, but what it comes down to is we just have to finish," she said. "It's a shame because we had so many shots on goal, we just couldn't get one in. It was a lot like yesterday [against Marriotts Ridge]."
In the early stages of the game, River Hill was the aggressor and held possession in Glenelg's defensive third for the majority of the first half. But the Gladiators' defenders continually made big plays to limit the Hawks' shots on goalie Rachel Barker (4 saves).
"I thought defensively we played a great game. Our defensive line, Maddie Bacon and Maddie O'Brien, stepped up and did a great job," Trunzo said. "The way we stepped to the ball and our outlet passes were big today."
In the second half, Glenelg began pushing forward and generating offensive opportunities. During one five-minute stretch during the middle of the second half, the Gladiators generated seven corners in succession.
But River Hill goalie Caroline Kral (19 saves) and the defense in front of her stood tall, clearing the ball out of harm's way time and time again.
The score stayed deadlocked at 0-0 through the end of regulation.
Then in the extra period, after a few minutes of back-and-forth play, Kindbom got loose in transition and made the most of her opportunity with a hard shot that snuck just inside the right post.
"Both Quinn and Gaby possess extremely quick shots, where you almost don't even see the backswing and then you blink and it's in the cage," Chamness said. "So Quinn has the power and she's done it before. But for he to be able to do it today under so much pressure, that's something special."
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The win is only the second all time for River Hill over Glenelg and the first in the last decade. Chamness said getting over that hump was as much mental as anything else.
"When you haven't beaten somebody for such a long time, there is that mental hurdle, so we talked a lot ahead of time about believing we were going to win this game," she said. "I think there is a lot to that, having that mantra and believing in your heart that you can do it."
River Hill 1, Glenelg 0 (OT)
Goal: RH – Kindbom.
Saves: RH – Kral 19; G – Barker 4.
Half: 0-0; Regulation: 0-0.
Reach Brent Kennedy at email@example.com or follow him on twitter @BKBSunSports