Defending county champion Mount Hebron again looks like the team to beat after the opening weeks of the field hockey season. The Vikings are 6-0 through Monday with four shutouts and only four goals allowed.
On Friday, however, Mount Hebron had its hands full with Centennial. The Eagles scored early on a penalty corner, but Mount Hebron responded with two goals before halftime for a 2-1 lead.
Vikings goalie Lindsay Sfekas made some key saves near the end of regulation, but Centennial had a late score to tie the game at 2-2. It took junior Courtney Reardon's goal, off a nifty pass from senior Sarah Cates, two minutes into overtime to keep Mount Hebron undefeated.
Reardon's goal was her second overtime game-winner this year. She also scored to beat Maryvale.
To her credit, Centennial goalie Chelsea Farley made 33 saves to keep the Eagles in the game. In the Vikings' cage, Sfekas and senior Kristen Seagasser have taken over nicely for Christina Schweizer, who now plays for Division III Salisbury on the Eastern Shore. The two have been splitting time this season.
"They support each other really well, they work well together," said Coach Jeannette Ireland. "It's nice to have two great goalies. They both deserve to play."
Senior Lauren Sterner leads the Vikings in scoring, Megan Bosica is the team's key set-up midfielder, and Alex Mengel and Pia Capra are anchoring a strong defense.
"One of my players asked me, 'Who's our next tough game?' I said, 'The next one,' " said Ireland, now in her 16th season. "They all get up for Mount Hebron."
The Team That Plays Together
River Hill seniors Lexy Doerr and Sara Kate Moore dominated on the offensive end, and senior sweeper Danielle Schovee stopped several Hammond breakaways in a 2-1 win over the host Bears on Friday.
Ali Geoghan scored both Hawks goals in the first half -- one on a rebound off Doerr's shot and the other off a pass from Joanne Reid -- as River Hill improved to 3-2-1 through Monday's games. Hammond junior Kristen Deegan scored off a penalty corner in the second half to make it 2-1, but River Hill thwarted three more corners to claim victory.
"This was our first game in a while where we played really together, connected. With quick passes we were able to get around them," said Doerr, who has three goals this season. "We're either together as a team or off as a team. If one person's having a bad day it affects the whole team."
Doerr, Moore and Schovee play club hockey year-round. Hawks Coach Shelly Chamness said Doerr "has picked up her game a lot since last year. She's been getting out there after practice working on her accuracy."
Senior Lindsey Frost was Hammond's top player in the game. Frost played every minute save for a moment late in the second half after she hurt her knee.
Hammond Coach Gay Petrlik shouted to Frost to "get a big swig of water and get ready to go back in" as she came off the field.
Despite Hammond's being 2-4 through Monday, Frost said that last week's 2-0 victory over Glenelg will have a long-term positive affect.
"It's a huge pride boost for Hammond," said Frost. "The varsity hasn't beaten Glenelg in years. That just boosted up our team. Our intensity went up."
The severe slope on Hammond's Bermuda grass field seemed to affect both teams. River Hill scored both of its goals and dominated the offensive play in the first half while shooting downhill; in the second half, most of the scoring opportunities belonged to Hammond, when the Bears were running and shooting downhill.
Said River Hill junior Rahna Shahrokh while standing on the sideline: "You think it won't affect you, but it does. It's like dribbling uphill."
Hammond's Frost agreed that the hill definitely plays a role during the game.
"It gets us psychologically in a mindset that we're going downhill and can get the ball farther," she said.