As if advancing to the Class 4A East region championship game wasn't enough motivation, the South River girls soccer team had extra incentive in yesterday's semifinal against Anne Arundel County rival Chesapeake.
Looking to avenge an earlier loss, the No. 8 Seahawks scored two goals in the game's first 13 minutes and then held off the determined Cougars, 3-2.
The Seahawks (13-2-1), who got two goals from junior Rachel Fry, will play today's Thomas Stone-Arundel winner for the region crown at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday at South River.
"This group has had the advantage that comes along with losing - all the motivation is already there," said South River coach Keith Fontaine. "The girls are ready. They want a state title. They want to work hard for it. They're not looking ahead any."
The No. 13 Cougars (12-3-1) benefited from tight marking to post a 1-0 upset of South River in their county opener, but weren't able to duplicate that effort against the Seahawks in the first half yesterday.
South River senior sweeper Lindsay Sheppard had position in front to head home a corner kick from Nina Firmani in the third minute, and then Fry raced free to run onto a ball flicked in by Katie Owings for a 2-0 lead just 13 minutes in.
"The first 15 minutes, it was like we were in awe of their skills and we were standing around watching and we didn't mark anybody," said Chesapeake coach Jerry McBee. "And when you play a quality team like that, they're going to take advantage."
After Chesapeake senior sweeper Tracey Dahlen cut the lead to 2-1 on a penalty kick with 28 minutes left, Fry provided what turned out to be the game-winner with a zigzag effort around two defenders before neatly finishing from 14 yards with 20 minutes to play.
With a quick answer from Alex Mavris, the Cougars trailed 3-2 and had 18 minutes to work for the tying goal. But South River keeper Jessica Bennett made a diving save to her right on a shot from Amanda Spinnenweber with 8:40 left.
"We were going in with high energy, wanting to beat them. We were motivating ourselves the whole season, talking about that game just about every practice, so it was nice to get them now," said Fry.