As a four-year starter for the No. 2 River Hill girls soccer team, All-Metro forward Alex Hamer has scored more than her share of big goals.
The one she put in Thursday against Atholton was right up there.
The Hawks were celebrating Senior Night with a chance to wrap up their fourth straight Howard County championship and Hamer made it happen.
Finding space between defenders, she ran on to a pass from Lauren Hessler and buried a shot from 14 yards away with 18 minutes left, giving River Hill a 1-0 win over the visiting Raiders.
The Hawks, who also won the past two Class 3A state titles, improved to 10-2 and 9-0 in the county, clinching with two games remaining.
Hamer was happy to help.
"It feels awesome to be able to do that for my team on such a great night," Hamer said. "We're kind of sad it's our last home [regular season] game, it makes us excited to start thinking about the playoffs. To ensure we have the county title really means a lot and I'm excited for us."
It's rare to find the Hawks come into a Howard County game with added motivation brought on by its opponent.
But they had plenty against the Raiders, who beat them 2-1 in overtime last year to hand the Hawks their only county loss since 2011.
The game was tightly-contested with the Hawks having the ball a little more throughout, but the Raiders coming up with two of the best scoring chances before Hamer made the difference.
Early in the second half, Atholton junior Emma Johnson sent a free kick to the middle that was headed just wide by Jetta Owens. Then, less than two minutes before Hamer's goal, senior Erin Kavusak got behind the Hawks defense and hit a shot off the right post.
Hamer, who had been working the left side with midfielder Jessica Hopkins all game with no breakthrough, finally made the strong run to the middle with Hessler's pass coming from the right side. River Hill coach Brian Song wasn't a bit surprised.
"That work rate Alex has … you can always count on her at the end and sure enough," he said. "That's what a quality team leader does and she's proven it on the field and off the field as well."
Despite the loss, Atholton coach Stephanie Stoutenborough was pleased with the effort her Raiders put in and knows there may be another chance at River Hill in the region playoffs.
"I think my team played well. Unfortunately, we didn't take advantage of our scoring chances," she said. "There's a couple things we need to change for the playoffs, and hopefully we'll see them again and things will go our way."
No. 2 River Hill 1, Atholton 0
Goals: RH -- Hamer
Assists: RH -- Hessler
Saves: A -- Mayhew 7; RH – Caine 6
Mt. Hebron 2, Howard 1 OT
After Howard grabbed the early lead, the Vikings stormed back to earn the one-goal victory. Mt. Hebron tied things up on a goal by Megan Benoit off a feed from Sorana Larson just before halftime and then ended up getting the game-winner in the sixth minute of the first overtime period.
Howard’s goal was scored by Grace Regal (her fourth of the season) off an assist from Nia Elbeck in the 12th minute of the game.
Centennial 5, Marriotts Ridge 2
Chapelgate 4, Key 1 (Wednesday)
The Yellowjackets got their goals from Marissa Terry, Rachel Terry, Jasa Curry and Kyla Cumberland.
Glenelg Country 8, Pallotti 0 (Wednesday)
The Dragons cruised to the team’s eighth IAAM C Conference victory to improve to 11-0 overall.
Goals: GC – DeLeonibus 3, Boemmel 2, Lewis, Barnes, Gamble.
Assists: GC – Moore 2, Gamble.
Saves: GC – Lawrence 1, Gamble 1.
Half: 5-0 GC.