With defenses resting, River Hill wins title

3-0 victory over Glenelg nets fifth Howard crown

Girls soccer

High Schools

October 17, 2003|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The expected defensive battle between No. 5 River Hill and No. 15 Glenelg never quite materialized yesterday.

River Hill broke the game open with second-half goals from Jackie Kahler and Jackie Stromberg just 1:38 apart en route to a 3-0 victory over visiting Glenelg. The Hawks clinched the Howard County championship with the win, giving them five titles in their eight-year history.

Glenelg (9-1-1, 7-1-1) allowed only four goals in its first 10 games. River Hill (10-1-1, 9-0) posted 10 shutouts and hadn't given up a goal since a season-opening 1-0 loss to St. Mary's. But the offenses stayed busy yesterday.

The Gladiators tested goalie Katy Hudson (eight saves) and the Hawks, holding an 11-7 advantage in shots, but they weren't able to put the ball in the net as Whitney Rhodes, Sam Goertler, Lindsay Hinkle and Megan Branthover wouldn't allow good scoring chances.

"This was a major game for us," Kahler said. "We took control of the game [in the first half] and we definitely stepped up." Glenelg also played tight defense and goalie Karyn Curley (five saves) made big stops.

Both teams were missing key defenders - River Hill's Shelley McDuff was on a college visit and Glenelg's Kelly Glackin was ill - but neither squad was affected much.

But while both teams had scoring chances early, River Hill took the lead on Rhodes' perfect 18-yard free kick about 13 minutes into the game.

Rhodes sent a line drive just over Curley's fingertips and under the crossbar.

Glenelg kept pressuring the Hawks and made River Hill work in the first half. However, the Hawks slowly began to take charge as the game continued.

"We played a good first half," Glenelg coach Dean Sheridan said. "But we didn't have our full `A' game."

Early in the second half, Sheridan moved an extra defender up to midfield to get more offensive pressure, but River Hill took advantage.

Kahler broke free on the right wing and scored on a 10-yard shot with 29:26 left.

The Hawks quickly stretched it to 3-0 when Stromberg beat Curley with a well-placed shot from the left wing that floated inside the far post just 1:38 later. Top scorer Kara Lewis assisted on both goals.

"That killed their offensive momentum a little," River Hill coach Willie Ibarra said. "They just lost their confidence."

Said Sheridan: "They got us disorganized in the back by making quick touches. They're a good team."

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