Since losing its first game under new coach Justin Stephens, Lansdowne High reeled off three straight convincing wins.
What makes the feat even more impressive is that the Vikings had to defeat rivals while figuring out how to communicate among the 14 players on a roster that boasts seven natives of Burma.
"In the beginning of the season, they were kind of lost," said Stephens, noting the players speak eight of nine languages. "They showed up and a couple of guys spoke fluent English, but the rest only speak some English. It's been a little frustrating, but we are having a lot more fun in practice."
After falling to Oakland Mills in the opener, Lansdowne rebounded with victories over Western Tech, Carver and Woodlawn by a combined 22-3.
"We are passing a lot better and we are talking, so our communication is a little better and that has a lot to do with our coaching," junior goalie Coulton Trevey said.
The Baltimore native praised Stephens and assistants Zachary Ward and Greg Johnson for molding the Vikings into a cohesive unit.
"If it wasn't for coach Stephens, I don't know what we would have done," Trevey said.
Trevey is very confident in a defense that includes seniors Jon Echeverria, Abednego Anyaoha and Lal Den.
"For the most part, they do understand most English, but sometimes it's hard to understand them because their accents are heavy," said Trevey, who has recorded 22 saves this season.
Forwards Mass Ndiaye (6 goals, 2 assists), Luis Sarmiento-Gonzalez (5 and 1) and Thomas Kung (4 and 2) certainly know how to put the ball in the net.
Sarmiento-Gonzalez leads the team with 26 shot attempts and Ndiaye and Kung have combined for 30 shots.
Junior forward John Ramos has taken nine shots without a goal while midfielders David Sang (1 goal, 1 assist) and Jeffrey Comaches (2 goals) and defender Anyaoha (1 goal, 1 assist) have found the net.
Den and Echeverria each have an assist.
Ndiaye, Sang, Khai Tawmging have also been steady influences in the midfield with their ability to distribute, score and provide quality defense.
Thomas Mang, Tavon Stanley, and Thuam Mung have been contributors off the bench.
While the Vikings continue to develop, Stephens, an assistant at Annapolis Area Christian School last year, has seen several positive signs.
"I like the way they have picked up our structure," said Stephens, a 2006 Owings Mills High grad. "Our biggest problem is we have a lot of seniors who haven't played before."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun