The psychology of soccer is sometimes as important as the skills, strategy and individual matchups.
An example of the importance of the mental aspect was No. 1-ranked River Hill's 14th straight victory yesterday.
After playing a dominant but scoreless first half in which the Hawks held 10th-ranked Wilde Lake to one shot while hitting two crossbars and one upper post, River Hill (5-0, 4-0 league) had to battle its own complacency in the second half before achieving a 3-1 victory.
"I'd like us to be more focused than we were today because then we play faster and crisper," River Hill coach Bill Stara said.
It took a kick off the line by Hawks sweeper Elliott Marquis in the 49th minute to prevent the Wildecats (2-2, 2-1) from taking a 1-0 lead on a breakaway by Bobby Ratcliffe.
That near-miss woke up River Hill, however.
In the 56th minute the Hawks' leading scorer Adom Crew (six goals, two assists) scored from 10 yards out after Wildecats goalkeeper Matt Thomas dropped a ball in front of the goal. Greg Hinkle converted a penalty kick in the 57th minute, and Brett Endler made it 3-0 in the 61st minute on a sliding shot at the back post off his outside right foot.