Hill’s early header is the difference
Senior’s goal in 4th minute stands up as Seahawks post their 11th shutout of season
The regular-season results for Arundel and South River indicated that Tuesday’s Anne Arundel County girls soccer championship would likely be closely contested with goals difficult to come by.
South River got the scoring part out of the way early, played some sturdy defense when called on and also maintained its lead with an aggressive second half.
Senior Erica Hill scored the championship’s lone goal, and it was impressively protected, as the No. 5 Seahawks came away with a 1-0 win over the host and No. 7 Wildcats.
“It feels really great to score early, and it was just really exciting,” Hill said. “It made us move forward and continue on with the game, and we just kept our heads held high and just kept pushing and fighting.”
South River (12-2-1) posted its 11th shutout of the season. Arundel dropped to 8-4-2 overall. Both teams went 8-1-1 in league play and tied, 1-1, in their regular-season meeting last week.
In last week’s game, it was South River that started fast and controlled play for good chunks of the first half, only to see Arundel claim a 1-0 halftime lead.
On Tuesday, after pressure from the Wildcats in the opening minutes, the Seahawks scored the first time they had the ball in their end, in the game’s fourth Arundel’s Kelsi Ross, right, pressures South River’s Shannon Parness. The teams went 8-1-1 in league play this season and tied, 1-1, in their regular-season meeting last week. minute.
Senior defender Alexis Ward started with a long throw to the near post, with Hill neatly placing a header to the far post.
Arundel had more time with the ball throughout the half but was unable to break through.
Freshman Tessa Randina had the best chance for the Wildcats with 18:36 to play, putting a heavy shot on goal from 14 yards that Seahawks goalie Madison Scott dived to save. In the closing minute of the half, the Wildcats had another shot on goal cleared away by a defender.
The Seahawks didn’t sit back in the second half to protect their advantage, and created most of the scoring chances until the Wildcats made a late push. Danielle Stenz hit a firm shot from the right side that Scott turned away with 11 minutes left. Less than a minute later, the Wildcats earned a corner kick with Grace Palmieri getting a clean header in front that Scott saved.
“The difference between winning and losing this game was we didn’t put away the chances that we had,” Arundel coach Laura Coe said.
Both teams have a first-round bye in the Class 4A East region playoffs and will open postseason play Tuesday. Arundel earned the top seed in the region’s Section I and will host the winner of the Friday game between Meade and North County. South River, the top seed in Section II, will host Annapolis. Both games are scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday.
“This always prepares us for our region playoffs,” South River coach John Sis said, “and we were looking at this as another quality game that we could get in with our young players — we played seven freshmen tonight. We’re very happy and pleasantly surprised to be in the championship and obviously win it.”