The season is off to a rocky start for the Riverside girls soccer club, and things didn’t get any better on Wednesday night when rival Northern Durham shut out the host Pirates 1-0.
The lone goal came courtesy of sophomore Callie Hammond in the 50th minute as Northern (2-2) kept Riverside (0-4) winless.
Hammond placed a banger over the outstretched finger tips of Riverside goalkeeper Lizet Hernandez and into the back of the net. The ball made it’s way to Hammond following a save by Hernandez. The rebound shot surprised Hernandez, and even Hammond herself.
“I wasn’t expecting that goal to go in,” said Hammond. “I was trying to aim it towards the far post and keep it low enough so I wouldn’t blast it over.”
Hammond gave the Riverside defense fits all night with her speed, making a number of left side runs that Riverside couldn’t contain. Northern thought they scored in the 23rd minute, but Serenity Ellis’ goal was disallowed due to an offsides.
Northern controlled play throughout the 80 minutes, putting 15 shots at the net, with four being on goal, and holding Riverside to just four shots at goal.
Riverside pushed for the equalizer with three minutes left, but sophomore Courtney Linden couldn’t get a shot off in the box due to tight defense.
Northern’s win marked its fifth straight victory over Riverside, including three shutouts.
The Knights are now 8-1-1 against the Pirates dating back to 2012. The rivalry game between the two is typically the biggest game of the season for both teams, no matter the sport.
First year Northern coach Josh MacIver might be new to the rivalry, but he knew this was an important game for his team.
“I knew this was going to be an intense game,” said MacIver. “Everyone was up for it. We haven’t had the best results to start the season, but luckily we got out of here with the win.”
Riverside coach Eric Long is no stranger to the rivalry, having coached the boys’ team, but this is his first year as the girls coach. He thought that this game brought out the best in his girl’s team that have struggled early in the season.
“They came out and played an aggressive style,” said Long. “I like to see that, no matter who we’re playing. I didn’t see that the first three games. We saw it tonight because it was Northern, but for us to be successful, they have to do that every night. Whether it’s Northern, Southern, Western, or Eastern.”