It took one day, two halves of regulation and more than one complete overtime period, but finally, it happened.
Less than three minutes into the second overtime, South River's field hockey team dispatched Arundel, 1-0, maintaining its recent hold on the series between the two rivals and continuing this season's success.
South River junior Melissa Bierley ended the game -- which had been scheduled for Sept. 20 but was postponed one day because of lightning -- with a hustle play. In an offensive push off a free hit, Bierley put a shot on goal that sent Arundel senior goalie Britni Shields sprawling to her left for the block. Bierley then flicked the rebound over Shields's outstretched legs to score her first goal of the season.
"It was really exhilarating," Bierley said. "I had the chills. It was nice."
Since 1993, Arundel has a 6-5-2 record against South River. But Arundel's last win over its league rival was in 2001. "South River has just had outstanding teams that play ferocious games," Arundel Coach Clint Gosnell said. "They play hard and fast. The program is a credit to the coaches, players and community."
South River, the 2004 4A state champion, is again having success, much of it due to its defense and goalie. South River has struggled on offense at times, though it also did so last year. With a new starting front line this season, the Seahawks are having to fill in and step up.
"Our defense is very strong, but to win games you have to put the ball in the cage," South River Coach Katie Corcoran said. "In the beginning of the season we were real strong [offensively]. . . . Now we're in a lull. Hopefully we can fix that and have some big games."
South River followed the Arundel win with a 2-0 victory over Old Mill the next day.
The Seahawks have done well without All-Met goalie Irene Jorden, who graduated. Jorden was a three-year starter and had 16 saves in the championship game. Her sister, sophomore Virginia Jorden, now minds the net.
Corcoran said she was pleased with Jorden's play against Arundel, where she recorded six saves. She had 20 saves and three shutouts entering the week. South River was 5-1.
Corcoran says she tries not to compare the two sisters even though the similarities are clear. Virginia is "very aggressive," Corcoran said. "She dives like her [sister], she saves like her. She's stepping up and doing well for a sophomore."