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Olivia O'Connell overtime goal pushes Centennial field hockey past River Hill

Centennial junior midfielder Olivia O'Connell talks about her teams, 2-1, overtime win over River Hill on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at River Hill High School. O'Connell scored the game-winner with about a minute left in the first overtime to seal the victory. (Monica D'Ippolito/BSMG).

After getting shutout by Atholton in its previous game, Centennial was determined to put away a few goals against a River Hill defense that has allowed just one score all season. And it did.

The Eagles buried the game-tying and game-winning goals Tuesday en route to the, 2-1, overtime victory against the hosting Hawks.

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"And they finished – that's what we've been working really, really hard on, especially after the shutout at Atholton," said Centennial coach Tara Carr. "They stepped up today and showed they really wanted it offensively and it was really awesome."

It was evenly matched throughout the contest, especially in the first half of play. River Hill earned three penalty corners within the first 30 minutes, while the Eagles earned four, but neither could capitalize on its chances. Both defenses shined in the game –backed by fantastic play in goal from Centennial's Jenna Dietrich (13 saves) and the Hawks' Caroline Kral (nine saves).

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"These guys are a strong team and I think we're making some consistent mistakes that we need to work on for the rest of the season, but we played really hard the whole entire game. That's how hockey is sometimes," said River Hill coach Shelly Chamness. "That's just how it is, both teams are really good teams and it was anybody's game. They came up with it."

With about six minutes left until the break, the Eagles had a great opportunity to take the lead, as River Hill was hit with a delay of game penalty after an injury timeout. The Hawks played with a man-down for two minutes, but their defense stepped up and did not allow a shot on net during that time. Ultimately, both teams went into the break scoreless.

Centennial field hockey beats Howard, 3-2, to headline Howard County field hockey action on September 13, 2016.

Centennial upped its play in the second half and controlled possession at the start of the period. River Hill didn't register a shot on goal until Gaby Hamburger tallied the game's first goal with about 22 minutes left in the half.

On the counter attack, Hamburger beat her defender, leaving her one-on-one with Dietrich. The junior attacker hit her shot bottom left corner past the Eagles goalie to put her team up, 1-0.

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"We were frustrated that they got on the board first, but I think it fueled us to score, so it was almost helpful," said Centennial junior midfielder Olivia O'Connell.

It did not take long for the Eagles to answer, as Grace Rockefeller knotted up the game just two minutes later.

"Unbelievable," Carr said. "We settled in the circle, definitely. All the opportunities that we gave ourselves really gave us the chance to really settle, look at the goal and take advantage, because their keeper is amazing and they have a really strong defense in the circle, so we really had to move them and move around them in order to capitalize."

Rockefeller placed herself right in front of the River Hill net, in perfect position to clean up a deflection that landed right at her stick. She then guided her shot past Karl, while also avoiding a Hawks defender in front and tied the game up.

New look featuring tiers adds change of pace, excitement to Howard County field hockey scene heading into 2016

Tied at one, River Hill and Centennial went into the first 10-minute overtime. The Hawks controlled possession on the Eagles defensive zone for most of the extra time, but Dietrich continuously turned the Hawks away, determined to limit their scoring to just one goal on the day.

"She definitely did [save the game]," Carr said. "Jenna is our base of our entire 11 that is on the field. I mean you can hear her when we're down in the offensive circle. She's talking, talking, talking – she really has control of the team and just is a big leader on team, on and off the field."

Finally, Centennial had its chance down in its offensive zone with just more than a minute left until the end of the first overtime.

Olivia O'Connell stepped up for the Eagles and fired a shot just inside the 16 to seal the win for her team.

"Outstanding, she is coming off a rolled ankle from Atholton and just played like she wasn't injured," Carr added. "We shifted her to forward today and she showed that that's really where she needs to be. She held strong in that last one and really possessed the ball. She had a couple wild ones earlier in the game – she really wanted it."

Centennial (4-1 county, 6-2 overall) handed the Hawks (4-1 county, 6-1 overall) their first loss of the season with the statement victory.

River Hill has another tough matchup Thursday, hosting Marriotts Ridge, while the Eagles will try and win their second-straight when they take on Oakland Mills Wednesday.

"Going in to overtime we not wanted, but almost expected – and just scoring that goal was awesome," O'Connell added. "We knew it was going to be a close game and I think the whole game was really close. They were undefeated and they had like no goals scored against them, so it was really just our goal to score against them and to really establish ourselves in the upper middle tier."

Centennial (4-1 county, 6-2 overall) 2, River Hill (4-1 county, 6-1 overall) 1 (OT) (Tuesday, Sept. 26)

Goals: C – Rockefeller, O'Connell.

Saves: C – Dietrich 13; RH – Kral 9.

Halftime: 0-0.

Howard County field hockey roundup:

Glenelg 4, Arundel 0

Sophomore Jenny Giampalmo scored all four goals as Glenelg defeated Arundel, 4-0,

Tuesday evening to extend its overall record to 8-0.

Three of the goals were assisted, two of which came from Grace Olson with the other assisted by Gabby Rachuba.

Goals: G — Jenny Giampalmo 4. A — none.

Assists: G — Grace Olson 2, Gabby Rachuba.

Saves: G — Kaylin Craine 2. A — not available.

Oakland Mills 11, Glen Burnie 0

Oakland Mills scored more goals in its Glen Burnie game (11) than it has in four of the last five seasons.

Senior Leah Roberts was unstoppable as she scored seven goals.

Roberts, a senior, "played an amazing game at midfield," said coach Kate Boettcher. "She pushed forward and recovered defensively and gave the extra boost to the team," Boettcher added.

Gretchen Bigasova, Kenzie Minarcin, Hannah Smelkinson and Sheridan Tacey also scored as the Scorpions kept Glen Burnie on defense, as aggressive play by Erin Crotty, Minarcin and Peyton Gomez kept the ball in the Oakland Mills offensive end of the field.

On defensive, freshman Cori Lawson had numerous stops and her speed and agility showed when she dribbled the ball into the offensive circle.

"We are really coming together as a team and recognizing our strengths," Boettcher added. "We have already beaten our record of one win [from] last season and hope to continue this momentum the rest of the season. We are on a mission to show that we are the new Oakland Mills field hockey team."

Goals: OM — Leah Roberts 7, Gretchen Bigasova, Kenzie Minarcin, Hannah Smelkinson, Sheridan Tacey. GB — none.

Saves: OM — Lizzie Yu. GB — Chyann 36.

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Glenelg Country 2, St. Paul's School for Girls 1

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Glenelg Country School set the tempo early, as it beat St. Paul's School for Girls, 2-1, in the IAAM B Conference.

Senior Julia Sheehan did a quick self-start below the 25 which resulted in a strong shot into the circle that was then redirected by freshman Anna Kearney for the score with 28:10 left in the first half.

The Dragons kept the pressure on, earning a penalty corner soon after, which resulted in a goal at 26:30. Bobbie Haney shot a hard strike from the top of the circle off the penalty corner insert that went wide to the stick of inserter Carly Schiller on the post, who slid the ball across the cage for a tip in by Samantha Wollman.

The game was very evenly matched after that with both goalies making six saves.

St. Paul's held a 10-4 advantage on offensive penalty corners and scored its goal off a corner with 6:35 left in the game.

Glenelg Country had strong games from Ally Brown, Avery Dyer, TK Olaniyan and Sydney Johnson.

The Dragons will host Severn on Thursday, Oct. 6 at 4:15 p.m. for a league match. Severn was an A Conference team last year.

Goals: GCS — Anna Kearney, Samantha Wollman. SP — Natalie Bray.

Assists: GCS — Julia Sheehan, Carly Schiller. SP — Cole Zaharris.

Saves: GCS — Ishika Kathuria 6. SP — Carson Stephenson 6.

Halftime: Glenelg Country, 2-0.

South River 3, Marriotts Ridge 2

Three goals in the first half gave visiting South River the cushion it needed to beat Marriotts Ridge, 3-2, on the Mustangs' Bermuda grass field.

"The last game we had on grass we lost," said South River senior Sarah King, referring to her teams, 4-0, loss to Glenelg on Sept. 7. "It is really hard to adjust to grass when you've been playing on turf."

King said her team was determined not to let a game on grass play with their minds.

"So we've been practicing on grass and it's been a great feat to be able to play as well as we did today," she added.

A determined Seahawks team controlled the first half of Tuesday's game, scoring all three of its goals.

Due to illness, Marriotts Ridge was forced to tweak their lineup a bit and that threw the team off slightly, creating some confusion on defensive assignments.

"And South River plays differently than we are used to," sad Bailey Christianson. "They all play reverse (stick) so we have to take an extra step to get to the ball. All of their scores were reverse stick."

"We had an awesome first half," added Maia Cheeks, who scored two of South River's goals.

After getting themselves in a three-goal hole, the Mustangs flipped the switch and became the dominant team, receiving goals from Sarah Blalock and Caroline Blalock. Unfortunately for the Mustangs, there wasn't enough time to tie the score and force overtime.

"We had a great comeback," said Marriotts Ridge coach Stacie Gado. "I told the girls in every one of these games, there is a lesson to learn and to grow from. It's never fun to lose but to come out and play like we did in the second half is rewarding, but we should not wait until the second half."

"I think Marriotts Ridge is a great team and that was great competition," King said.

The only blemish on South River's 7-1 record is the loss to Glenelg. Marriotts Ridge slipped to 4-2-1 as the season reaches its midpoint.

Goals: SR — Maia Cheeks 2, Allison Corey. MR — Caroline Blalock, Sarah Blalock.

Assists: SR — Paris Plummer, Madison Jamison, Allison Corey. MR — Sarah Bengermino, Caroline Blalock.

Saves: SR — Paige Ford 9. MR — Katie Garman 7.

Halftime: South River, 3-0.

Atholton 1, Broadneck 0

Stephanie Gottwals scored the game's only goal as Atholton defeated Broadneck, 1-0. Gottwals score came with 13:46 left in the second half.

The Raiders defense dominated the first half with goalie Adira Colton making all five of her saves.

Atholton's offense controlled the second half, setting up Gottwals for her goal.

Goals: A — Stephanie Gottwals. B — none.

Assists: none

Saves: A — Adira Colton 5. B — Peri Long 6.

Halftime: tied 0-0.

Long Reach 6, Meade 1

North County 3, Wilde Lake 0

Southern-AA 6, Hammond 3

Severna Park 3, Mt. Hebron 0

Standings (as of Sept. 27)

Glenelg, 2-0 county, 8-0 overall

Marriotts Ridge, 1-0, 4-2-1

River Hill, 4-1, 6-1

Centennial, 4-1, 6-2

Long Reach, 1-1, 4-2

Atholton 1-1, 4-3

Mt. Hebron, 1-1, 3-5

Howard, 2-3, 2-3

Reservoir, 1-4, 2-6

Oakland Mills, 0-1, 2-3

Hammond 0-2, 2-4

Wilde Lake, 0-2, 1-7

Glenelg Country, 1-2 (IAAM B), 3-2.

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