Playing for another day
Hurricanes defeat Hornets, advance to play Northern
With a potential rematch with county rival Northern on the horizon, Huntingtown’s girls soccer team could have easily looked past Tuesday afternoon’s game with the visiting Great Mills Hornets.
Especially given that one team’s season was going to end following the Class 3A South Section II semifinal, the Hurricanes needed to focus on Great Mills to ensure that matchup with Northern came to fruition, according to Janelle Ridgewell.
“We knew it could be our last game,” she said. “We didn’t want to go in thinking we were just going to kill them, since we’ve beat them in the past. We had to think, ‘They’re just like Northern.’ We had to play our game and try to score as much as we could.”
And while the first half was a relatively even affair, Huntingtown flexed its muscle in the second half to defeat the Hornets and advance to the section final against Northern. Huntingtown is scheduled to play at Northern at 5 p.m. today.
The winner of today’s section final moves on to the region final on Tuesday versus either City or Poly, both of Baltimore.
“I think we started off very slow in the beginning,” Ridgewell said. “We tend to play to the other team’s level. Sometimes it takes us some time to get into our rhythm and to find our pace. We wanted it a little bit more after half. ... It turned our really well.”
Huntingtown (13-2 overall), seeded No. 2 in the section, led 2-0 at the half on goals by Michaela Blumenstein and Mia Issac, the latter of which came with less than five minutes remaining in the opening half. But Ridgewell eliminated the prospects of any late-game drama with three goals within a roughly four-minute span early in the second half, increasing the lead to a commanding 5-0 over the third-seeded Hornets.
Olivia Gillick, Audrey Flanagan and Annie Doyle each contributed goals to the Hurricanes’ cause, as well, to allow the team to ultimately coast to the eight-goal win. Huntingtown head coach Charlie Raphael was simply pleased to advance and to do so without suffering any injuries.
“We had no injuries, so that’s good,” he said. “I don’t think we played very sharp, but it was kind of a strange game to play sharp in. We’ll get ready to play Friday, that’s the good news. We’ll see how it goes. I thought they did OK. Their keeper did really well...
We’re healthy, will look forward to Friday and see where it goes.”
Huntingtown defeated Northern (12-1 after an 8-0 win over Chopticon on Tuesday) 2-1 when the teams met on Oct. 4. The loss stands as the only blemish on Northern’s ledger. The Patriots won the SMAC championship and entered the postseason as the top seed in the section.
Great Mills (5-8) put together a solid first half against Huntingtown on Tuesday, but was unable to hang with the perennial SMAC power over the final 40 minutes.
“We were hoping to do a little bit better,” Great Mills head coach Britni Kirker said. “We sort of lost
our composure in the second half. We played one good half against them when we played in the regular season, the second half, and this game we played one good half in the first half. Combine them into one game...”
Loss aside, Kirker was pleased with the progression her team showed throughout the season.
“It’s still the best season we’ve had in a long time,” she said. “This is the first year since I’ve been involved with the program that we got a first-round bye in the playoffs. We’re focusing on the positive. We had five wins, which was more than we’ve had in a long time, so overall I think we’ve made a lot of improvements. Hopefully we can keep improving and be a little better next year.”
Huntingtown’s girls soccer team huddles up before its game against the visiting Great Mills Hornets on Tuesday afternoon. The Hurricanes defeated Great Mills 8-0 to advance to the Class 3A South Region Section II final at Northern today.
Huntingtown’s Olivia Gillick, left, and Alyssa Brookhart of Great Mills go after the ball during the teams’ 3A South Region playoff game at Huntingtown on Tuesday afternoon. Huntingtown defeated Great Mills 8-0.