Potomac (Va.) junior point guard Eric Hayes, who helped lead the Panthers to a Virginia AAA state runner-up finish last season, made an unofficial commitment yesterday to play at the University of Maryland in 2006.

The 6-foot-3, 168-pound Hayes, who averaged 12.3 points, 7.6 assists and 3.2 steals for a 29-1 team in 2003-04, cannot sign until next November. He also had offers from second choice North Carolina State, as well as Clemson, Georgetown, Miami, Ohio State, Richmond, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.

Hayes, who shot 52 percent from the field (with 30 three-pointers) and 91 percent from the foul line last season, grew up rooting for Maryland. His paternal grandfather and great uncle attended the school.

"It's kind of a kid's dream," said Hayes, who had several scholarship offers before the Terps weighed in. "I definitely wanted them to offer. When they hadn't offered, I was definitely waiting on them."

Hayes, often compared to former Maryland star Steve Blake because of their similar physiques, court awareness and passing ability, would have been a senior at Potomac this year but repeated eighth grade to mature more physically.

"The lure of Maryland and just the opportunity to play close to home but yet still be away from home was something he didn't want to pass up," said his father, Potomac Coach Kendall Hayes.

South River Advances

Senior Janna Wojtech's second half goal amid a scrum of Arundel players broke a scoreless tie and sparked South River (12-3) to a 3-0 win in a Maryland 4A East field hockey quarterfinal. "In the second half I really put my heart out there," said Wojtech, who also assisted on Jill Hodges' goal eight minutes later. "If we were going to win, we really had to push ourselves."

In another 4A East quarterfinal, freshman Brigitte Strother scored 1 minute 9 seconds into overtime to lift Broadneck (11-4) to a 1-0 victory over Meade. Junior Lindsey Rawley's perfectly placed centering pass set up the winning score. "We pulled together as a team at the end," Strother said. "It feels amazing." South River hosts Broadneck Monday in a semifinal game.

-- Preston Williams

and Dave Yanovitz