Hill’s early header is the dif­fer­ence

Se­nior’s goal in 4th minute stands up as Sea­hawks post their 11th shutout of sea­son

Baltimore Sun - - VARSITY - By Glenn Gra­ham glenn.gra­ham@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Glen­nGra­hamSun

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.”

MATTHEW COLE/BAL­TI­MORE SUN ME­DIA GROUP

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