Top-ranked River Hill’s boys’ soccer team came into Friday’s night match against Marriotts Ridge needing a win to put itself in position for the Howard County league crown.

The No. 5 Mustangs had other ideas. The then-defending Howard County champion handed the Hawks their first loss, 2-1, in Marriottsville.

The Mustangs’ win opened the door for Wilde Lake, which won its match against Long Reach in Columbia about an hour later, to claim the league crown. Wilde Lake (10-0-1 league) will play Arundel for the District V championship at Meade Tuesday evening.

Michael Glazer’s tally late in the opening half was the difference for Marriotts Ridge (13-1, 10-1 Howard), which also received a goal from senior Patrick Sullivan. Michael Peters had the lone score for River Hill (11-1-1, 9-1-1 Howard).

“All of the scoring was in the first half and we got unlucky on two throw-ins and we [River Hill] didn’t defend them that well,” said River Hill coach Matt Shagogue. “Disappointed with the result, but we have the playoffs ahead of us.”

It didn’t take long for the Mustangs offense to get going as Kevin Yu navigated the ball between two River Hill defenders on a throw in to Sullivan, as he netted the ball five minutes into the first half to give Marriots Ridge a very early 1-0 lead. Both teams went to the half with six shots on goal each.

River Hill answered as Peters headed the ball in the back of the net to tie up the game. In the waning seconds of the first half, Yu delivered again as he fed Michael Glazer at to put the Mustangs up to stay.

“We started out good, got that quick goal at the beginning,” said Sullivan. “We slowed down a little bit the rest of the first half, but we knew we had to pick it back up in the second half.”

“We [River Hill] have been down three times year and knew that we just keep battling,” said River Hill coach Matt Shagogue. “I knew that they weren’t going to give up, they played hard and generated some chances in the game but they just didn’t finish them.”

The second half was dominated by defense on both sides of the field. Unfortunately for River Hill the damage was already done as the Mustangs one goal lead was good enough, albeit briefly, to make a claim for a third straight county championship.

“We wanted to make sure we were strong in both better boxes, and then we didn’t get outworked,” said Mustangs coach Kevin Flynn. “We felt we were going to get scoring chances, we just hope we were strong defensively.”

Both teams turn their attention to the postseason as seeding for the state region tournament will be announced early next week. Riding a 10-game winning streak, Marriotts Ridge looks to defend its Class 2A championship.

“Our goal is the state championship,” said Sullivan, whose team has reached the state title round the previous two seasons. “We got to come out every game and play hard.”