River Hill draws share of prize with S. River Eight yellow cards given in physical 1-1 contest

Class 2A-3A girls soccer

November 16, 1997|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

The River Hill Hawks did all they could to stay in the controlled, highly skilled brand of soccer they've had so much success with this season.

South River, their opponent in yesterday afternoon's Class 2A-3A state final game at Dundalk Community College, made it tough with a physical style that made the two mix like oil and water.

After 80 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime -- the two teams had to settle for a share of the state crown with a 1-1 draw.

River Hill (15-2-1) certainly deserved better.

The No. 10 Hawks had overwhelming edges in shots (19-3) and corner kicks (7-0), but a strong effort from senior goalie Erin Graham (12 saves) saved South River.

Eighth-ranked South River's physical ways often knocked the Hawks off the ball as well as off their game.

By game's end, eight yellow cards were issued -- six for South River (14-2-1) and two for River Hill. South River seniors Lorie Zamarripa and Shannon Simmons were both ejected after receiving their second yellow cards.

"It was an extremely physical game. That's what we were most concerned about coming in and that proved to be the case," said River Hill coach Cynthia Odell, choosing her words carefully. "It takes you out of your game when you're knocked to the ground. My girls had to do their best to control the game, keeping the ball wide which we've tried to do all season long before sending it in. [South River] was very aggressive and many times didn't play the ball, but the body.

"My girls played a very nice game. They didn't lose this game. They needed character and class to get through this game and they did -- I'm proud of them."

Following the game, South River coach Will Pharr found himself defending his team's play.

"I think people who know the game know that physical play is physical play," he said. "It's not dirty. It's not cheap. I don't condone it. I don't encourage it. Do I tell you to tackle hard? Yes. Do I tell you to challenge 50-50 balls? Yes. But I've never or would ever think 'Go out there and whack that girl.' "

River Hill took a 1-0 lead with 15 minutes left in the second half when junior Kathy Gaertner took a ball away from South River senior defender Lorie Zamarripa inside the penalty area and fired a low shot from 15 yards out that went off Graham and in.

South River, which shared the state title with Liberty last season after a 0-0 overtime tie, got even 10 minutes later when Nichoal Zamarripa was credited with a goal that was deflected in. Zamarripa made a nice run down the right side, won the corner and then lost control of the ball inside the penalty area. River Hill standout midfielder Caitlin Bair tried to clear the ball as the two players collided.

The ball ended up in the net.

Gaertner, whose goal gave her 10 on the season to go with 15 assists, left happy with the way her team played.

"It was tough. They were very physical, but I think we played a pretty good game so I feel pretty happy," she said.

"We knew that we were the better team and felt we could have beaten them, but we're happy -- we're state champions."

Pub Date: 11/16/97

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