Top-ranked St. Mary's scored three goals within eight minutes deep into the second half last night to beat unranked Arundel, 5-2, in the second game of the Pioneer Shootout girls soccer tournament at Anne Arundel Community College.
The Saints (4-0) will play third-ranked River Hill, a 1-0 winner in the opener over seventh-ranked South River, at 3 p.m. today for the championship. The defending Class 3A state champion Hawks (3-0) beat St. Mary's, 2-1, in last year's Pioneer final.
St. Mary's coach Jerry Tobin said his team needed "a little bit of a wake-up call and that's what they got" against the Wildcats (1-1).
Arundel freshman Melissa Hornfeck scored past backup goalie Lindsay Sholl five minutes into the game. St. Mary's No. 1 goalie, Katy Owings, who broke two fingers in Tuesday's game against Spalding, won't be in the nets for three to four weeks.
Erin Holland tied the game and Melissa Anderson's penalty kick with 11:40 left gave St. Mary's a 2-1 halftime lead.
A direct kick from Arundel's Jess Upchurch found the back of the left corner to tie the game with 21 minutes remaining. Kristin Anderson gave St. Mary's the lead for good with 15:56, then her older sister, Melissa, scored four minutes later. Owings added the final score with eight minutes left.
"It looks like they finally went at them," said Tobin about his squad learning to put the opponent away. "We've been trying to do that all year."
River Hill outshot the Seahawks 13-3 in the second half (25-7 in the game) and had an 8-1 advantage in corner kicks (11-1 in the game). The Hawks scored off Shannon Jackson's ninth corner kick of the game with 7:54 remaining when sophomore Megan Buescher put in a rebound inches from the goal line.
"Fana [Walcott] hit it and it went off one of their players and I just kicked it in," Buescher said.
South River (3-1) gave River Hill (3-0) a lot of open space in the midfield and the Hawks took advantage to control most of the game. The faster Hawks had many runs at goal, but South River sophomore goalie Jacque Marshall (13 saves) kept her team in the game.
"She was super, said South River coach Fred Brocklander.
Brocklander added that he "loved the effort my girls gave. They never quit."
The Seahawks, who will play Arundel in the 1 p.m. consolation, were under pressure most of the game.
"They had a good offense," Marshall said about River Hill. "They controlled the ball very well and knew where each other was."
Still, the Hawks had trouble finding the back of the net.