South River field hockey tops Broadneck, 1-0, in Anne Arundel County rivalry

September 16, 2013

It could have gone one of several ways. The slightly wide shot on the Broadneck field hockey team’s third corner could have been a few inches to the right for a go-ahead goal in the first half. Or South River could have notched its first goal 10 minutes later, if Bruins senior defender Marley Russell wasn’t there to block a loose ball that skirted behind goalie Alyssa Thompson.

Either team could have slipped away with the win in Edgewater on Monday night.

But in the end, the result was the same as it has been for the teams’ past nine meetings: No. 1 South River (4-0) with the advantage over its sixth-ranked Anne Arundel County rival, 1-0 this time.

Junior forward Emily Szachnowicz found sophomore midfielder Caitlin Blanche at the left post with 6 minutes 49 seconds remaining in the game to earn the win for the defending Maryland 4A champions.

The opposing senior starting goalies, Thompson and Naomi Johnson, kept it close.

“It was a high-intensity game on both sides, and Broadneck played us well,” said Megan Atkinson, South River’s first-year coach. “The goalies kept both teams in the game, and without their performance, there could have been a lot more goals.”

Thompson and Johnson were aggressive both in front of their cages and stepping up to shots, often leaving their defenders behind them.

“Naomi played an amazing game,” Atkinson said. “She’s insanely athletic and she just has this drive not to let the ball in the goal.”

Each goalie notched seven saves in the second half. Midfielder Regan Littell kept the ball moving forward for the Bruins (3-2). A run up the right sideline by Broadneck forward Kara Siegel and a pass to the circle for her older sister Kylie (the duo was one of four sets of sisters in the game) gave the Bruins one of their best opportunities eight minutes into the second half. But South River regained control in the final 10 minutes.

The Seahawks needed to compose themselves and communicate before finishing, Atkinson said.

“It took us a while to settle down,” she said. “We had a lot of youth out on the field, a lot of girls who haven’t played in a highly competitive rival game. We have to learn collectively as a team to take a deep breath and calm ourselves down.”

South River played without veteran forward Emily Thomas, who will be out four to six weeks after breaking her collarbone in a 3-1 win against No. 3 Glenelg on Sept. 7.

“We never had to worry about this team giving up, we all have enough heart that we’ll finish the game,” Szachnowicz said.

The 2013 Seahawks are young, but Atkinson and the starters are confident that if they can improve communication, their stick skills will make them tough to beat.

“As long as we play together as a team, we can beat anyone,” Blanche added. “That’s how bonded our team is.”

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