Girls’ soccer: Surprise teams make their mark in Maryland

October 9, 2013

With just two weeks worth of games remaining, girls’ soccer pretenders and contenders are normally firmly in their respective corners. But in the 2013 fight for supremacy in Maryland girls’ soccer, a few surprise squads have yet to relent, and may dethrone some traditional powers.

In Anne Arundel County, normally dominated by South River (8-3-0, 6-2 Anne Arundel) and Arundel (8-1, 6-1), Broadneck (9-0-0, 7-0-0) refuses to stop winning. Led by sophomore forward Bri Harris (10 goals) and senior forward Ellie McNulty (11 goals and eight assists), the Bruins have cruised through the Anne Arundel schedule after knocking off the defending state champion Seahawks in their second game of the season. They haven’t looked back since, posting shutouts in five of eight games. McNulty turned in a hat trick in a 6-1 win over Glen Burnie Tuesday.

“I think just from the start we decided to work a lot harder than we ever have before,” McNulty said of her team’s emergent season. “We’ve really set our sights high this year. We have set high goals for ourselves, and we want to beat teams we haven’t beaten in the past and have the best record we can going into the playoffs.”

McNulty and the Bruins, whose last remaining test will be Arundel Oct. 16, have also beaten another unrelenting up-and-comer Severna Park (9-2-0, 6-1-0), who turned a good season into a special one with a 1-0 win over South River Tuesday. The Falcons shut out opponents in nine games this year.

In Howard County, Centennial (8-1-1, 6-1-1 Howard County) seems to have staying power, too. The Eagles outshot River Hill (7-3-1, 5-1-1 Howard County) in a 0-0 tie with the perennial league leaders Friday, keeping Sheridan Street , the Hawks’ Syracuse-bound standout, from earning clean looks while also gaining several high-percentage chances themselves. Centennial’s lone loss came to Wilde Lake (8-2-2, 6-1-1), a team who’s also hanging around after an impressive start. The Wildecats will have a shot at River Hill in the regular season finale.

“The top six teams, us, Marriotts Ridge, Centennial, Reservoir, Wilde Lake, and Mount Hebron, year in and year out you just sort of place who’s first, who’s second, who’s third,” River Hill Coach Brian Song said. “But I keep telling our girls, ‘look, depending on how the ball bounces, anyone can beat anyone in any game if we don’t come play.”

In Montgomery County, Sherwood (5-2-1, 0-0-1) turned heads in Montgomery 4A with a 2-0 win over 4A South power Churchill (5-3-1, 0-2-0) last week.

“I think over the past couple of years, we’ve really started to want it more, and our team has gained a lot more confidence, which is why I think we’re succeeding,” senior captain Claudia Wilson said. “I think over the years we’ve definitely picked up the pace a lot, and we play a fast-paced game.”

The Warriors, who won the 4A North for the first time in recent years last season and won three playoff games before falling to Bethesda-Chevy Chase, are proving last season was no fluke.

“When we played B-CC and Damascus, we played a really good first half against one and a really good second half against the other. I asked the girls if they could put a full game together [for Churchill], and that’s why I think we were so successful,” said first-year Sherwood Coach Danielle Rosanova. “I really think we have the potential to do really well in our conference and the playoffs. . . . They want to go as far as they did in the playoffs last year, it was their first time, and it was really exciting for them.”

Ultimate upstart Damascus (9-0-0, 3-0-0) remains the team without a loss or tie in Montgomery County. The Hornets play only one team with a winning record the rest of the way.

Rankings: The Post Top 10

No. 1 Good Counsel had no trouble with WCAC foe St. John’s Tuesday in a 3-0 win, a bounce back from a 1-1 tie with state and national power McDonogh. . . . McDonogh wreaked havoc on teams on the rankings this week, also dominating then-No. 2 Spalding 5-1 in a game that saw the Cavaliers outshot 22-2. . . . No. 3 O’Connell’s won three straight games since falling to St. John’s Sept. 24, most recently beating then-No. 6 Bishop Ireton 2-1 Tuesday. Six different goal scorers scored the Knights’ nine goals in those games. . . . No. 5 Whitman joins the top 10 as the lone unbeaten team in Montgomery County 4A. The Vikings emerged as one of the two top teams in the crowded South division after handing Churchill its third-straight loss in a thrilling two overtime game Monday. . . . No. 6 Holy Cross grabs a place in the top ten after a 2-1 win over Ireton this week. The Tartans are as yet unbeaten in the WCAC, though games with O’Connell, Good Counsel, and St. John’s still loom.

1. Good Counsel (9-0-4 Last week: 1

2. O’Connell (7-2-0) LW: 3

3. Spalding (8-2-1) LW: 2

4. Bethesda-Chevy Chase (8-1-1) LW: 5

5. Whitman (7-0-1) LW: NR

6. Holy Cross (7-0-1) LW: NR

7. River Hill (7-3-1) LW: 10

8. Bishop Ireton (6-3-2) LW: 6

9. Damascus (9-0-0) LW: NR

10. Arundel (8-1-0) LW: 8

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