Shara Greulich would like to tell you that she planned it all along, but she knows that sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.
The senior midfielder's perfectly struck corner kick gave host and No. 4 South River a one-goal lead en route to a 2-0 win over sixth-ranked Arundel in a key Anne Arundel County league soccer game.
Just 9:58 into the game, Greulich's shot went directly from her foot over Arundel goalie Catie Bukowski's outstretched arms and into the far side of the net. The goal seemed to take all of the pressure off the Seahawks (4-1, 3-0), who lost to Arundel (3-2-1, 2-1) last year.
"It started the game off well for us," Greulich said. "An early goal like that in a big game is so important."
After the goal, South River began to take the game over with its physical play. Seahawks coach Keith Fontaine says that's been a goal for the team all year.
"Part of what we're trying to teach them is how to play faster, to be more aggressive, and to play harder. It's not quite as pretty, but that's what we need to do to go to a higher level."
The physical style was a major factor in shutting down Arundel's Alexandra Wilkerson and Melissa Hornfeck, the Wildcats' leading scorers.
Arundel had its best chance to score right before the half when Wilkerson beat a defender and had a breakaway on Seahawks goalie Jacque Sutphin. Sutphin was equal to the task, stoning Wilkerson after closing the angle.
"I was so pumped up for this game," said Sutphin. "She's a great player, and that's the only error my defense made all day. I knew I had to step up."
In the second half, the Seahawks took advantage of another Arundel mistake.
With 16:45 gone in the half, Arundel's Erika Blom tripped South River's Rachel Fry just inside the penalty area.
Brandi Sutphin, Jacque's twin sister, converted the penalty kick to give the Seahawks a 2-0 lead. Arundel had very few scoring threats the rest of the game.
Wilkerson was disappointed by the loss.
"We wanted to win here, but after they scored, you could see that they wanted it more," she said. "They're a good team, and they took advantage of their chances."
Arundel coach Thomas Degner echoed Wilkerson's comments.
"They took it to us in the first half, but I think we played better in the second," he said. "This is a big rivalry, and you can tell that they were hungry. We'll try to build on this loss."