River Hill's Erika Theisen saw the small opening as soon as the ball touched her foot. The junior midfielder, who had just received a pass outside of the penalty area, immediately spun past two defenders and drilled the only goal in the visiting Hawks' 1-0 victory over No. 10 Urbana last night in Ijamsville.
Theisen's blast into the upper-right hand corner came in the 55th minute of the nonleague soccer game between two teams expected to contend for the Maryland 3A title.
"I saw that I had the chance to cut in, and as soon as I got the ball that's what I did," Theisen said. "I was just trying to get the shot on goal and it ended up going in. This was a big win for us because Urbana is one of our biggest rivals."
After the teams took eight shots during an evenly played first half, River Hill was awarded a free kick near midfield midway through the second half. As most of the Hawks crowded the penalty area, junior defender Katherine Bird slipped a pass to Theisen, who came back to the ball, collected it about 10 yards outside the area and promptly scored her second goal in as many games.
River Hill's defense, led by senior Cailan Ryan, sophomore Meg Sims, Bird and junior goalkeeper Ellie Williams, took care of the rest for River Hill (2-0). Urbana fell to 0-4.
"Our defense right now is impeccable," Williams said. "Everybody is doing their job."
River Hill's third straight victory over Urbana in as many years continued to raise the confidence of one of the state's youngest teams -- its only senior starter is Ryan.
Urbana's performance last night continued a string of tough setbacks to open the season. Urbana went 0-3 in McDonogh of Baltimore's tournament, falling by identical 2-1 scores to St. Pius X of New Mexico and Paul VI Catholic and losing in penalty kicks to No. 7 Spalding after the teams played 100 minutes without a goal.
Urbana just missed taking a 1-0 lead against River Hill in the 29th minute, when freshman midfielder Julia Roberts hit a high-arching shot from 30 yards away that hit the crossbar and went over the goal.
"We could very easily be 4-0, but we're not," Urbana Coach Chuck Nichols said. "But I'm happy with the way we playing, because it's not like we're getting our doors blown off."