Mt. Hebron found itself in the same situation Friday night as it's been in twice already this season.
The Vikings had first-half leads — even against unbeaten county powerhouse River Hill — in their last two games but ended up losing both times.
But that wasn't the case against Wilde Lake Friday. After getting a first-half lead on a Susie Halper goal, the Vikings not only held onto that lead but added another goal for a 2-0 win.
"In our past two games we've scored first but we've had trouble holding our lead. We focused on not letting them back in the game. We knew we needed some security goals, at least one," said Halper.
"Our defense was clearing the ball so we just needed to calm down and stay composed," said Mt. Hebron's Kelly Richards. "In other games we started panicking and that's when we gave up goals."
Richards gave Mt. Hebron the needed security, scoring off a throw in from Nia Crump, with four minutes left in the game.
Richards played a key role in the Vikings' first goal when the Wilde Lake defense failed to clear the ball on a pass back at the 20-minute mark of the game.
Mt. Hebron is "very fast up top," said Wilde Lake coach Davia Procida, who said her defenders did not "realize they had some time to clear the ball. We were nervous because they were running all over us in the first half" and a miscommunication led to a goal.
Richards and sweeper Sarah Hulit battled for possession into the left corner, and Richards looked to center the ball.
"I was going to cross it and I heard Suzie coming so I made sure I kept the ball. I looked up and she was making a run and I sent a through ball and she touched it and scored," said Richards.
"That first goal made it a little easier for us. We haven't won in a while so this motivation," Richards added.
"After they scored I think we really lost our motivation and our drive to win those 50/50 balls but at halftime we regrouped and we come out really strong. We just couldn't put it in," Becca Riley said. "They had a really deep defense. Our normal style is to send long balls to the corner over the defense but they were fast and they were good so we had to adjust" at halftime.
Wilde Lake (2-2 in the county) had numerous opportunities, especially in a strong second half. Maria Pascale, Rachel Lazris, Abbie Wright, Brynn Drury and others had runs but Mt. Hebron's defense, led by keeper Lyndsey McLamb, making her first start of the season, and Crump, stopped the threats.
Hutchinson also had a good night in the net. Mt. Hebron's Yasmine Darrehmane had a point-blank blazing shot midway through the second half, but Hutchinson saved it. Ten minutes later, she stopped back-to-back shots by Halper. Lauren Hutchinson got a lot of help from her defense, led by Hulit, but not from her offense.
"It wasn't our night tonight. Our shots weren't even close," said Procida. "The problem is, once we get down, we get frantic and we just shoot, shoot, shoot. We have very skilled shooters but when we down we worry more about shooting than placing the ball. But, honestly, that might be the easiest thing to work on — getting it in the net."
For Mt. Hebron, now 2-2 in the county, this win might be a sign of better days, said Halper. "This might be the turning point of our season."
Fundraiser for Coach Dave
When Wilde Lake hosts Marriotts Ridge on Thursday, Sept. 27, it will be a fundraiser for the Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Foundation.
"My dad was diagnosed in June and is going through chemo currently but he is going to be just fine," said Wilde Lake coach Davia Procida. Her father, David, is her assistant and a former head coach at Wilde Lake.
"Although this game is not 'in honor of him,' it is definitely the driving factor as to raising awareness for this kind of leukemia," said Davia Procida. "He is very healthy and had no idea he had it, so it is important to go to the doctor and get checkups regularly, which luckily he does and they caught it early."