Opportunistic No. 3 South River puts away No. 2 Severna Park in field hockey, 1-0

Capitalizing on an early mistake by Severna Park, host South River converted a penalty stroke to put away its county rival, 1-0, in field hockey Tuesday.

Falcons goaltender Liz Mata was called for sitting on the ball, which drew the penalty seven minutes into the match. Seahawks junior Zoe Smith promptly netted the ball in the upper left corner of the goal, her fourth score of the season.

"I was so scared, but I just stopped thinking and did it," Smith said. "It was so exciting."

Third-ranked South River (10-2), solidified its place atop Anne Arundel County with the win, while second-ranked Severna Park fell to 8-3-1.

The Seahawks also got payback for a Sept. 20 loss to the Falcons.

"They're always going to give us their best effort," South River coach Megan Atkinson said. "To come out and win against them after losing 2-0 earlier in the season, it's a huge win."

The defenses dominated in a game that featured two of the best goalies in the county. Naomi Johnson earned the shutout with three saves, bringing her save percentage up to 87.1 percent (68 saves, 10 goals against) for the year.

"It's just something in me. It just really goes against the grain to let anybody score," Johnson said. "I just don't like to be scored on."

Despite her first-half error, Mata finished with eight saves. But Severna Park coach Ann Andrews said the offense squandered too many fast-break opportunities to take advantage of her senior's solid play in goal.

"We threw the ball away a lot," Andrews said. "They were playing frantic, and when they play frantic, they don't look up and they don't connect on passes."

The Falcons had one more chance to tie the game up in regulation, after they were awarded a penalty corner with 2:27 left. But after a scuffle in front of the net, the Seahawks cleared the ball and ran the clock out.

"We did not create enough opportunities for ourselves," Andrews said, "and the ones that we had, we didn't take advantage."

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