River Hill's early goal proves long lasting in 1-0 win vs. Wilde Lake

Hawks oust rivals, earn berth in 3A East final

Girls soccer

November 03, 2001|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

It wasn't about revenge, they said afterward.

That was too strong of a word, with too much focus on the present and not the future. For River Hill's girls soccer team, yesterday's 1-0 win over host Wilde Lake in the Class 3A East Regional semifinals was about redemption.

"We said that it would be different ever since we found out we were going to play Wilde Lake in the playoffs," said sophomore Lindsay Hinkle, who had the game's only score in the second minute off a cross from teammate Robin Bishop. "We wanted to show them we weren't the team that lost to them in the regular season, that this is a whole new season for us."

Hinkle's goal was the most prominent highlight, but not the only one, in a well-played soccer game between two emotional, evenly matched rivals. Earlier this season, it was Wilde Lake (11-5) that used a fast start to its advantage against three-time state champion River Hill (11-2-3), scoring twice in the first five minutes in a 2-1 win Oct. 2.

But No. 8 River Hill - which advanced to the 3A East final against Mount Hebron, a 3-0 winner over Northeast - turned the tables yesterday, getting several good looks at the start of the game. The Hawks capitalized when Bishop crossed the ball in front of the net to Hinkle, who drilled it at the far post for the score.

"We came out really intense," Bishop said. "I had the ball up the sideline right way, and I knew I had to get a cross off. It went right through their players, and Lindsay was there to finish it off. It felt great."

Though Wildecats coach Marcy Leonard felt her team was a tad nervous in the opening minutes, she was plenty proud of the effort that followed the Hawks' goal. Led by senior Kelly Thomas, No. 13 Wilde Lake fought tooth and nail in the remaining minutes, and would have tied things up if not for a great save by keeper Erin Ferguson, who snagged a ricochet in a crowd off a corner kick in the closing minutes before halftime.

"We couldn't quite find the magic to put it in the net," Leonard said. "I thought we played a much better game against River Hill this year than last year when we faced them in the regional finals. I'm very proud of the way our season went. It exceeded my own expectations."

The second half was, at times, very physical, with both teams exchanging elbows and angry words. But it was simply the intense, determined play of two teams not ready to see the curtain drop on their season. Wilde Lake had a few scattered chances late (shots by Ali McDonough and Laine Angle sailed just over the crossbar) but couldn't break through.

"This was just a great, fun game," said River Hill's Jamie Goertler. "Their fans were really into it, cheering every time we lost he ball. It's the kind of game you look forward to playing. We just felt like we wanted them to know this was a different team than the one they faced last time. We're out to defend our three straight titles, and this is a new season for us."

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