Hughes assists No. 2 River Hill's triumph

Forward's playmaking helps stop Hebron, 2-0

Boys soccer

High Schools

October 16, 2002|By Nathan Max | Nathan Max,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Justin Hughes isn't sure whether he is more effective as a playmaker or a finisher. Yesterday afternoon, he was a playmaker.

The senior forward assisted on both of River Hill's goals, lifting the second-ranked Hawks to a 2-0 victory over visiting Mount Hebron in a Howard County League soccer game.

"I don't know what I'd call myself," said Hughes, who has seven goals and 11 assists this season. "I know I can create, and I know I can finish. I don't always create and finish all by myself, but a lot of times I get a good assist from somebody else. When I need to, I can finish."

Yesterday, Hughes just needed to set up his teammates.

After a shaky start in which the Hawks (9-1-1 overall, 8-1 league) allowed two early Mount Hebron scoring chances and didn't register a shot until the 17th minute, River Hill settled down and dominated. The Hawks took 12 of the game's next 13 shots after the 17th minute, including eight straight to close the first half. In all, River Hill outshot Mount Hebron, 12-6.

River Hill opened the scoring in the 36th minute thanks to the work of Hughes, who shielded junior goalkeeper Chris Nameh as River Hill defender Eric Finney played a ball into the penalty box.

Nameh and Hughes collided as the ball bounced off Hughes to senior midfielder Michael Stromberg, who kicked the ball into an empty net.

Hughes created River Hill's second goal in the 55th minute when he beat a Mount Hebron defender to the end line on the right side of the goal and hit a hard centering pass that ricocheted off the foot of River Hill junior midfielder David Adams and into the goal.

"I wasn't sure if [Adams] saw it coming," Hughes said. "Once I got in past the defender, I knew I had to get to the end line and cross it in. On the first goal, I saw the ball coming across so I tried to get up in the air for it. Their goalie got me instead of the ball, and Mike finished it."

Mount Hebron (6-5, 4-4) registered the game's final three shots after River Hill's second goal, but had few dangerous scoring chances over the final 70 minutes.

Still, River Hill coach Bill Stara was not satisfied with his team's effort.

"I didn't think we played particularly well," Stara said. "I was a little disappointed. We weren't as crisp as I thought we would be, but even on one of our off days we showed that we are one of the top teams."

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