Hawks remain unbeaten after 0-0 tie with Eagles

No. 3 River Hill is 9-0-2, has yet to allow a goal

Field hockey

High School

October 10, 2001|By Nathan Max | Nathan Max,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

In the six years River Hill has existed, success in autumn has been almost exclusively reserved for the boys and girls soccer programs. But this year, on a field a half-mile away from the school, the field hockey team is stealing some of the spotlight.

With yesterday afternoon's 0-0 draw against Centennial, the third-ranked Hawks remained unbeaten and have yet to allow a goal in 11 games. With one more victory, River Hill (9-0-2, 5-0-1 Howard County) will break the school record for wins in a season, set by the 1997 team that went 9-4-2.

"I think the big difference this year is that we're working as a team," said second-year coach Shelly Chamness, who last year led the Hawks to their first playoff win. "We really feel like a family, we have a lot of team chemistry going and everybody works hard. I think we have some of the best stick skills around."

The Hawks are led up top by senior forward Erika Hyrowski, who has seven goals and three assists this season, and senior midfielder Shannon Goans (four goals, five assists). But their strength is in back, where senior defenders Nicole Mele, Carolyn Mech and Carolyn Contney protect senior goalie Kate Macon.

Macon, who made a season-high 12 saves against Centennial to save River Hill's streak, has 11 shutouts and 58 saves this season.

"Our defense is amazing," Macon said. "Half the reason goals don't go in is because of Carolyn, Carolyn and Nicole. Before the ball even gets to me, they block it and shoot it back up the field."

Although River Hill entered yesterday's game as Howard County's first-place team, it was Centennial that took control early in the second half and dominated thereafter. The Eagles (5-4-2, 3-2-1) outshot the Hawks 12-0 in the second half and two overtime periods, and 14-4 for the game. Centennial also had 10 penalty corners in the second half, while River Hill barely crossed the midfield stripe.

In the first half, the Hawks appeared to have taken the lead when Goans rifled a shot from inside the top of the shooting circle past Centennial goalie Danya Eng. But her backswing was ruled to have been too high, so the goal was waved off.

In the second half, Centennial threw intense pressure toward the River Hill cage throughout. But the Eagles could not beat Macon, who made nine saves in the second half, four in the final minute of regulation and three in overtime.

"She really plays angles very well, but I also think their defense stepped up big," said Centennial coach Gail Purcell, whose team has never lost to River Hill (4-0-2). "We had some shots that she got to, but we had a lot of shots that didn't get to her. We didn't place a lot of balls that we should have placed. I felt like were in control, especially from the second 15 minutes of the first half and the second half. But we just couldn't convert."

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