Mount Hebron's wins over Great Valley (Pa.) and Shawnee (N.J.) during the weekend at the Vikings' Spring Lacrosse tournament won't end the debate regarding who is the nation's top girls' lacrosse team, but they certainly stirred up some emotions for Coach Brooke Kuhl-McClelland.
"You are the ones that belong at number one," Kuhl-McClelland told her team before the championship game against Shawnee, which the Vikings won, 12-9. "You belong there solely by yourselves."
Currently, the Vikings share the nation's top spot -- at least according to U.S. Lacrosse -- with Moorestown (N.J.).
Kuhl-McClelland invited Great Valley and Shawnee, the team that lost to Moorestown last year in the New Jersey state title game, to try to dispel any questions regarding ranking. Great Valley was ranked 11th by U.S. Lacrosse; Shawnee was ranked 13th.
The Vikings "have significant size on their team, and size, especially on defense, can be a contributing factor to a team's success," said Shawnee Coach Susan Rudderow.
Mount Hebron, the top-ranked team in the Washington area, defeated Great Valley, 18-3, in a semifinal game but had a tougher time against Shawnee. The Renegades scored first against the Vikings, and the score was tied at 3 with 13 minutes 9 seconds left in the first half -- the latest Mount Hebron has been tied with a team since the Vikings lost to St. Stephen's/St. Agnes in 2001.
A 7-2 run to end the half took care of things, although the Vikings (7-0) endured a 4-0 run by Shawnee at the end of the second half before claiming their seventh straight tournament title and 31st win.
"This is what we were hoping for," said Mount Hebron senior Maria Bosica, who shifted to midfield to spell teammate Kristen Waagbo (bronchitis) and scored six goals and had five assists during the tournament. "In our minds, this is it for us. This is probably our best competition we will see."
Lions Get Rare Victory
After the Howard boys' lacrosse team held off a late charge by Mount Hebron in its 9-7 win over the Vikings on April 8, the Lions took a well-deserved victory lap.
It was Howard's first win over Mount Hebron since 1991 and only the second of this season for the Lions (2-5), who dropped four games to open the year.
"It's huge with capital letters," Howard Coach Wendell Thomas said. "Hebron dethroned Howard when their dynasty started, so it's been a long, long time coming. They overcame the mystique."
Junior Jim Dress had three goals in the win, and senior Dan Dupree and junior Mike Moss each scored a pair.
Since Howard beat Mount Hebron in 1991, the Vikings have won seven county championships and three state championships. Howard has been far less successful. When Thomas took over three years ago, the team hadn't won a county game the previous year.
This may be the turning point, said Phil Thomas, a senior midfielder headed to Towson University next season.
"We aren't going to be too cocky and overconfident, but it will just help us realize we can be good," Thomas said.
Dragons' Johnsen Isn't Boastful
Glenelg Country junior Paul Johnsen is surprisingly hard on himself, especially for a guy who has scored 27 goals in six lacrosse games.
"I haven't done anything spectacular," said Johnsen, who transferred from Hammond at the start of this school year. "I am just helping the offense out when I can. I have just basically been an outside shooter, and I haven't been as physical as I should've been."
Glenelg Country Coach Tom Marechek isn't complaining.
Johnsen, whose brother P.C. was an All-County standout last year at Hammond, has helped spark the Dragons, who opened the season 3-1 before dropping games to Smithsburg and Pallotti at its own tournament Saturday.
"He is strong, he is a good dodger, and he is a good shooter," Marechek said. "You give him room, and he can pretty much beat any defenseman. He has stepped up, and we are still waiting for other guys to step up."
Rain Forces Permanent Delays
The latest round of rainy weather forced the cancellation of several baseball and softball games last week as county athletic directors have run out of dates to make up games. Friday's softball game between Mount Hebron and Wilde Lake as well as baseball games between River Hill and Glenelg on Friday and Atholton and Northern on Saturday will not be made up this season.
The tennis match between River Hill and Glenelg from April 8 will not be made up, either.
Baseball and softball teams are allowed to schedule three games a week and can schedule one make-up game a week. Teams must play 14 games to qualify for the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association postseason tournaments, but that rule was suspended last week by MPSSAA Executive Director Ned Sparks.
Lifting Ban on Lights Gets Support
School Superintendent John O'Rourke gave his support last week to a report recommending the county Board of Education lift the county's longtime ban on the installation of lights at high school athletic stadiums, and a Board of Education hearing on the subject could come this summer.
The support of the superintendent, as well as the assistant superintendent and principals, is a first in the fight to add lights to county stadiums. Among the county's 11 high schools, only Howard High has a lighted stadium.
Three attempts to lift the county's ban failed in the past 16 years without administrative support, but a report by the Interscholastic Athletic Advisory Committee submitted in January indicated the feasibility of adding lights while addressing concerns about security, equity, funding and administrator workload.
"I am very supportive to this point in the process," said O'Rourke, who has not formally made a recommendation to the board on the issue.