Girls soccer

Perfect ending for River Hill

Hawks' 20-0 vision proves 20-20 as they go undefeated

Rodgers' goal wins final

River Hill 1 Bethesda-Chevy Chase 0

November 19, 2006|By Glenn Graham | Glenn Graham,SUN REPORTER

Just over 10 minutes remained in yesterday's Class 3A state championship game when the River Hill girls soccer team found its lofty season-long goal within reach.

The No. 2 Hawks went into the year looking for more than just winning a state title - the standard they set was perfection.

And it was met when sophomore reserve Kathryn Rodgers scored with 10:25 left, all the scoring the Hawks would need in a 1-0 win over Bethesda-Chevy Chase at UMBC Stadium that completes their 20-0 season with the program's fifth state championship.

"Yes - 20-0 - that's basically what we set as our goal for the whole season and we came in here and finished it," All-Metro senior midfielder Erika Theisen said. "That's how we are - that's our mentality - we play to win. We knew we had the ability, so we set the high standards for ourselves and tried to meet them every game."

Yesterday, it was Rodgers' turn to be the hero and with 16 of the Hawks' 21 field players having scored at least one goal this season, it wasn't a surprise. All season long, contributions came from everyone.

Despite carrying the play for most of the game, the Hawks were unable to break through against a Barons defense that posted 11 shutouts. But then River Hill got a late corner kick. Senior Katherine Bird sent an ideal ball to the middle for a waiting Rodgers, who took care of the rest to help celebrate her 15th birthday.

"Erica Suter was in front of me and I saw it go over her head, so I backed up for the ball and was right there. Then I just hoped to God it went in," said Rodgers, who scored one goal during the regular season. "It's a great season. Everybody did their part in every game, and we're just so happy."

It was the not-so-happy ending in the 2005 season that provided incentive this fall for the Hawks, who lost in last year's semifinal to eventual champion Tuscarora on a goal with eight seconds left in the second overtime.

With nine seniors back led by Theisen, midfielder Sara Tankard and goalie Ellie Williams - who had a diving fingertip save midway in the second half to keep the game scoreless - there was no denying the Hawks this time around.

"I give credit to the 21 girls over there - the pressure was on, the pressure that I put on them," coach Brian Song said. "Other than the freshmen and the players who came up from junior varsity last year, they all experienced [last year's loss] and how the ride home was. They realized that's not how they wanted to end things, especially the seniors - they're the ones who drove this team."

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

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