In penalty kicks, No. 3 River Hill boys soccer prevails over Mount Hebron for 3A East title

After scoreless draw through regulation, Hawks edge Vikings in shootout, 6-5

November 05, 2013|By Brent Kennedy, Baltimore Sun Media Group

After a five-year hiatus, the River Hill boys soccer program is headed back to the state final four.

In penalty kicks, after 100 minutes of scoreless action Tuesday night, Hawks goalie Tomas Potts came through with a pair of diving stops to help River Hill outlast Mt. Hebron, 5-4, and capture the year's 3A East region title.

"I went out there thinking that it was on me. For our five seniors and our entire team that was looking at me, it was on me to make a play," said Potts, who was also in goal just four days earlier when River Hill defeated Reservoir in penalty kicks. "Last game I didn't guess right once, but their guys missed. This time I wanted to be the one to make a difference."

With his final stop, a lunge to the right that deflected the shot of Mt. Hebron's Alec Vaughan wide of the goal, Potts kicked off a celebration several years in the making. With its region championship victory, setting up a meeting with undefeated Urbana on Saturday, River Hill (16-1) secures a spot in the state semifinals for the first time since 2007.

Two of the team's seniors — Zach Riso and Jake Turney — had fallen short in two previous regional title games, including in penalty kicks as freshmen.

"This means so much to me, it's hard to put into words," said Riso, who kicked off the penalty kicks Tuesday with a conversion into the corner of the net. "This was our last chance and this is probably the best team we've had in my four years. To see everyone work as hard as they have and to see it come together … it's just amazing."

For the second straight game, River Hill found itself playing defense for the majority of the first half. Yet, just like in the team's region semifinal match-up against Reservoir, the Hawks were able to emerge from the first 40 minutes locked in a scoreless game.

Potts (8 saves) made several big stops, including punching a hard shot by Mt. Hebron's Jon Horrocks over the crossbar in the 20th minute.

"We beat them 3-0 during the regular season, but we knew this game was going to be completely different. And it was," River Hill coach Matt Shagogue said. "They had the more dangerous of the play, we couldn't sniff the goal, and yet we stayed in it. We kept ourselves in position where we had a chance and, all year, that's been the mark of this team."

Both teams had chances to score in the second half, as each defense cleared a ball off the end line during the final 16 minutes of regulation. The score, however, remained 0-0 through the end of the half and two subsequent overtime periods.

In penalty kicks, Mt. Hebron freshman goalie Tory Jones delivered the first big play. His diving stop of a shot by Ben Peters gave the Vikings the upper hand heading into their fourth kick.

But Potts answered with a save of his own on the very next kick by Dan Beatty.

Both teams traded conversions before the decisive sixth shooters, where River Hill's Luke Turney made his try and then watched Potts step in and seal the deal.

"Their goalie made a couple big plays and that was the difference, it wasn't like anybody missed," Mt. Hebron coach Mike Linsenmeyer said. "It's just a crapshoot and we didn't come out on the right end of it, but the kids played great. They were terrific and I don't think I would have done anything differently."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.