River Hill hands Centennial first loss

2-0 victory is 16th straight for top-ranked Hawks

Goertler, Stromberg score

Girls soccer

High Schools

October 12, 2002|By Nathan Max | Nathan Max,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Despite trying circumstances around them, top-ranked River Hill and third-ranked Centennial went ahead with their important Howard County League girls soccer game yesterday afternoon.

In addition to the sniper shootings in the Washington area that limited both teams to one day of practice this week, the field in Clarksville was drenched from rain, and only one referee showed up. None of those factors, however, could stop the defending Class 3A state champion Hawks from claiming their 16th consecutive victory, 2-0, over the previously unbeaten Eagles.

"It was a messy game," said River Hill senior midfielder Jamie Goertler. "We're a passing team, so weather like this gets us out of our game. I wasn't happy about playing this game at all. We only had one practice this week, and they're our biggest rivals."

Nevertheless, River Hill improved to 10-0 overall, 6-0 in the county, on goals by Goertler and junior forward Jackie Stromberg. Goertler opened the scoring in the ninth minute with a towering shot from 40 yards out that clipped the bottom of the crossbar before hitting the net in the upper left corner.

"I knew I wasn't going to get too many touches on the ball, because of Hayley Siegel," said Goertler of the Centennial sophomore midfielder. "So I figured the more chances I got to shoot, the more times I was going to shoot it."

Before Stromberg put in the insurance goal on a high drive from the top of the penalty box in the 75th minute, defending 2A state co-champion Centennial (9-1-2, 5-1) had several chances to tie. In the 13th minute, senior keeper Erin Ferguson barely got enough of a shot by Centennial sophomore forward Mandy Paizs to knock the ball off the crossbar. Paizs had another phenomenal scoring chance in the 29th minute, but with only Ferguson to beat, she shot the ball wide from 15 yards.

In the second half, Centennial outshot River Hill 8-3 and held the Hawks without a shot for more than 30 minutes. But River Hill's defense and Ferguson (six saves) held down the Eagles until Stromberg put the game away.

"For the girls, this was a difficult situation to not get out there and practice and not have the normal routine," said River Hill coach Joan Kelso Smedley. "And then, on top of that, there's the awful situation. They did a great job of keeping focused."

"Both teams couldn't practice, so it was an even playing field," Centennial coach Mike Senisi said. "I'm real proud of the way we played. They had two good shots that both went in, and we were just unlucky."

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