The last game of their season — the Class 3A state championship — was just completed, but the Mt. Hebron players had a few more things to do. They joined hands and walked across the field at Washington College, the site of Saturday's field hockey state championships. The Vikings' faces were solemn; their disappointment clear.
Just like two years ago, they were crossing the field to accept the runner-up trophy.
Despite scoring the first goal of the contest and twice having a one-goal lead, Mt. Hebron lost to C. Milton Wright, 3-2.
While the score was close throughout, C.M. Wright controlled much of the play. The Mustangs had 18 offensive corners to Mt. Hebron's four.
"We played strong, but honestly, I don't think we played our best game," said Mt. Hebron senior Monica Linn. "We played the best we could today, but it wasn't our best game."
Coach Jeannette Ireland agreed. "We were just a little off tonight."
Katie Anderson drove home a pass from Tianna Wallpher to give Mt. Hebron the first goal of the game. The score came on a corner play.
The lead was extremely brief as Haley Matthai scored for the Mustangs.
"We have a 30-second rule where we're supposed to keep them out because you are supposed to be most (vunerable) 30 seconds after you score," Linn said.
Matthai's goal proved that point because it came just 32 seconds after Anderson's tally.
A few minutes later, the two teams traded goals again with Linn scoring for Mt. Hebron and Matthai getting her second goal of the night.
The score was still knotted, 2-2, when the second half began. Then Maggie Gallagher got what proved to be the game winner off an assist from Sabrina Rhodes.
"We always talk about getting on the boards in the first two minutes," said C.M. Wright coach Janice Rhodes. "Mt. Hebron beat us to that in the first half."
With the score tied at the half, the Mustangs' coach explained to her team that it was a new game. "Do what we do; get on the boards," she said.
Her team responded.
"We couldn't get ourselves going again" after that goal, Linn said.
The Mustangs, the top-ranked team in the Baltimore area, didn't make it easy for Mt. Hebron to generate offense.
"They had us chasing them," Wallpher said.
C.M. Wright's Sabrina Rhodes was dominant in the midfield.
"She killed us with her awesome maneuvering down the middle. We couldn't stop her," Linn said.
Rhodes worked the ball into the Mustangs' offensive circle and helped create corners for her team.
"We knew we had to keep the ball out of our circle," Ireland said. "But I thought we defended corners well."
"Mt. Hebron really gave us a run for our money today. They are probably the best team that we've played all year," said Sabrina Rhodes.
Although Mt. Hebron finished second in its classification in the state, it was a banner year for the Vikings. They posted a best-ever record of 17-2, claimed a share of the county title, won the regional title and made the state championship game for the fifth time in program history.
"I can't say enough about our senior leadership. That's why we had the season we did. They rallied around everything," Ireland said.