South River jumped to a 2-0 lead after a scoreless first half on goals by Lori Estes and Tammy Mitchell and held on to edge Atholton, 2-1, last night in Edgewater.
The victory in the second round of the 1A-2A South Region playoffs kept the sixth-ranked Seahawks unbeaten and spoiled Atholton's first playoff appearance under the new state open tournament format.
The Seahawks (12-0-2) won the Anne Arundel County championship over perennial Class 4A power Severna Park, 1-0, in overtime last week. The Raiders (6-5-2) finished in a three-way tie in the Howard County League.
A nifty pass from Cassidie Dunbar to Jess Marion and Marion's subsequent kick to Estes, all alone about five yards from the goal, produced the game's first score at the 11:37 mark in the second half.
Estes tapped it in the right corner past Atholton goalie Mandy Robins, who had nine saves.
"I told to Jess to stay on the left side when we came up on the goal and told the wings to crash," said South River's first-year coach, Will Pharr. "I was confident Jess would get it by either scoring or getting to a wing as she did."
About three minutes later, Mitchell scored in a cluster of bodies in front of the goal, with the ball going in the left corner past Robins.
At the 34:09 mark, Robins was called on for a penalty kick and zoomed a shot in the left corner of the net to make it 2-1.
The goal seemed to fire up the Raiders and prompted second-year coach Jim Carlan to move his leading scorer back )) up front.
Stephanie Van Deusen came into the game leading the Raiders with 10 goals and six assists but started at sweeper much to the surprise of South River.
"I was really surprised No. 14 [Van Deusen] started at sweeper, but then they moved her up at the end," said Pharr.
Carlan's scheme was to counterattack South River's speed with Marion and Dunbar, the Hawks' leading scorers and two of Anne Arundel's top three.
Marion came into the contest with a county-leading 21 goals and four assists, with Dunbar third in the county with 10 goals and 10 assists.
"We had Stephanie back so we could counter their speed by having her clear the ball," Carlan explained. "When it got late, we moved her back up, but we couldn't get the score to tie it."
Most of the first half was played at midfield, with both defenses vTC sharp. South River's was so efficient that senior goalie Megan Riley did not touch the ball and had all five of her saves in the second half.
Senior Shannan Burchell, juniors Mitchell and Amy Nye and sophomore Val Smith sealed off the Raiders.
* Howard 3, Mount Hebron 1: Karen Krupka scored two goals and Sarah Nunnally added one, leading Howard (6-5-2) past Mount Hebron (4-11) in a 3A-4A West regional quarterfinal game.
The Lions had beaten the Vikings, 5-0, earlier this season.
Krupka headed in Howard's second goal early in the second half off a cross by Sarah Campbell.
Krupka, who has eight goals, scored Howard's third goal off a cross from Jen Chalfin with five minutes left to play.