AACC Women’s Soccer Season Ends With Heartbreaking Overtime Loss

Severna Park’s Tina Tinelli Named To All-Region And All-Tournament Teams


Anne Arundel Community College’s (AACC) women’s soccer team had a successful and surprising year in their inaugural season playing in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II conference. The Riverhawks finished with an 8-5-3 mark and recorded seven shutouts during the year.

The Riverhawks had a young team with only three players returning from the previous year.

“Our record was impressive because we had so many freshmen who had never played together,” said head coach Jim Griffiths. “We started practice in mid-August and our first game was on August 29.”

Griffiths relied on a stifling defense as his team allowed only 13 goals for the entire season. The Riverhawks held their opponents to a .127 shot percentage and an average of only 10 shots per game.

“It wasn’t until the final third of the season that we had everyone healthy,” Griffiths said. “The first part of the season, we were always missing one or two key players.”

AACC gained momentum going into the Region 20 tournament by winning their first two games and then suffering a crushing loss to CCBC-Essex on a last-second goal in overtime.

“It was really a good game and the goal-winning kick barely squeezed into the top corner of the net with one second to go,” Griffiths said. “The players also built great team chemistry as the season went on. Being on a junior college team, it’s hard to bond because the players don’t go back to the dorms and dining halls together, like four-year schools.”

One of the freshmen who helped to create that team culture was Severna Park resident Tina Tinelli, who played outstanding defense throughout the year and was named to the NJCAA All-Region 20 and regional All-Tournament team.

“Tina is a good athlete and has a rocket for a leg,” Griffiths said.

That powerful leg was on full display during the championship game where Tinelli scored a goal on a 45-yard penalty kick.

Like many of her teammates, Tinelli balances being a full-time student with work, practice and homework.

“Soccer is something I love,” Tinelli said. “I’ve been playing since I was 3 or 4 and have made so many friends playing sports.”

Tinelli remarked that the first few days of practice at AACC were challenging because she recognized so many players from rival high schools. Those players are now teammates who worked together to become a cohesive squad in a few weeks.

Tinelli said the key to their successful season was the long road trips to colleges in Massachusetts, West Virginia and New York that gave the players time to discuss topics outside of soccer.

“Some of the fun memories from the season were getting ice cream in Massachusetts and finding the next McDonald’s,” said Tinelli, who is an information assurance major.

“I didn’t know what to expect this year because I only knew a few of the players, but this season exceeded all of my expectations, and Coach Grif really brought out the best in all of us,” Tinelli said.

Tinelli was named to the girls soccer second-team All-County at Chesapeake High School last year. Tinelli also participated in indoor and outdoor track for the Cougars as a high-jumper. Her personal best was 5 feet, 2 inches.

The Riverhawks expect to have a strong nucleus coming back next year as 13 players on this year’s squad were freshmen.


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