River Hill soccer loses star, streak

Walcott's move, end of run at 29 victories sting Hawks

Notebook

September 18, 2001|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

It's not often one of the area's best soccer teams suffers from a lack of confidence, but River Hill coach Joan Kelso Smedley believes that's been the case with her Hawks the past five days.

On Thursday, the Hawks lost for the first time in nearly two years when Urbana upset them, 2-1, to end their 29-game winning streak.

Then on Saturday, River Hill learned that Fana Walcott, a first-team All-County sweeper last season, was leaving the team because she and her mother are moving to Georgia.

"It was a real sudden thing," Smedley said. "No one knew about it until she told the girls at a spaghetti feed we were having Saturday. It was pretty hard for them."

Walcott, a junior, had been one of the county's best athletes the past two years. Also a two-time first team All-County selection in basketball, Walcott was regarded as an unselfish leader and was slotted to be a major part of the Hawks' quest to win a third consecutive state title this season.

"I think it was real hard for her," Smedley said.

River Hill managed to shrug off some shaky moments to grab a 2-1 victory over Mount de Sales yesterday at home.

"It was a frustrating day," said Hawks midfielder Lindsay Hinkle, who scored the game-winner in the 72nd minute. "We started out good and picked it up at the end, but it was frustrating in between."

The Hawks, admittedly, still had a bitter taste in their mouths from the Urbana game.

"We just weren't ready for that game," Hinkle said of Urbana. "We weren't focused or working hard in warm-ups or anything and when we got out there, we started arguing with each other. A lot of people had bad games in that one."

A new Hammond

Hammond volleyball coach Ken McLaughlin couldn't help but be proud when he heard what people were saying during the Bears' upset of Mount Hebron on Friday.

"People were saying, `That's not the same old Hammond we always see,' " McLaughlin said. "We'd never beat Mount Hebron in my nine years here, so it felt pretty good."

The Bears got big efforts from Julie Bixlar (10 kills, six aces), Shannon Burton (six kills, nine aces) and Leire Moulier (seven kills) in the 14-16, 15-1, 13-15, 15-7, 15-6 win.

"Our biggest difference has been maturity," McLaughlin said. "We're not really superstars and we're not very tall, but we play well together."

Hammond gets a big test Friday at No. 4 River Hill.

Football

Long Reach running back Calvin Maragh ran for 168 yards on 15 carries Saturday - including a 50 yard fourth-quarter touchdown - to help the Lightning defeat River Hill, 20-19. Long Reach has beaten River Hill by a combined three points the past two season.

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