Jen Giles had two goals and an assist, Nia Crump added two more assists, and Mt. Hebron took down visiting Long Reach 4-1 Thursday.
“I was extremely happy with our effort right off the bat,” said Vikings coach Tim Deppen after the game.
Mt. Hebron (3-1, 2-1) was coming off a loss to county-rival Marriotts Ridge on Tuesday — a game in which Deppen said his squad started off flat.
“Yesterday in practice, we had a serious talk about what we needed to do,” he said. “Whether it’s changing our pregame warm-up, whether it’s doing something different right before going out on the field ... (we wanted) to go out with 100 percent effort.”
Deppen said the Vikings changed everything about their game-day routine, and his players said it made a big difference.
“I think we came out a lot stronger than we did in our last game,” Giles said of her team’s performance. “Changing up the whole swing of things” really helped, she said.
Giles struck first for the Vikings just 19 minutes into the contest, netting a long pass from Crump.
Then, with less than eight minutes remaining before intermission, Giles sent a ball to Janette Yacynych, who scored the second goal of the night.
“I know the girls click well as a team, because I see what they are doing in practice, so I wouldn’t say that I’m surprised they played so well,” Deppen said of his team’s fast start.
Entering the second half, the Vikings already had a 2-0 advantage. Four minutes after the break, Kelly Richards added to the Vikings’ lead with an Alize Lassiter assisted goal.
Long Reach (2-2, 1-2) coach Erik Sandersen said his team still has a lot to work on, but he took solace in the fact that there were a few good points he can build from.
“This is a tough one,” he said. “I think we can all feel good about how we created some chances. We had some great play at goalie. We’re going to work on some defensive rotation.”
Sanderson said his team played well at midfield as well, but it was still difficult to stay with the Vikings on long runs.
“We had a lot of great possessions, good chances,” he said. “Mt. Hebron beat us on some speed and flashy runs. They capitalized on their chances for sure.”
Taryn Stewart was responsible for one bright moment for the Lightning. With 16 minutes left in the game, Stewart sent a long shot over Vikings’ keeper Jen Skinner for her team’s only goal.
“We played hard, it’s just unfortunate that we lost,” she said.
Late in the match, with the Vikings already leading Long Reach 3-1, Crump connected on a long free kick with Giles for her second goal of the game.
With two assists, Deppen said he was impressed with the way junior defender Crump played.
“I’m extremely happy that Nia Crump is getting assists, because her coming forward out of the stopper position, and sending the ball in like that, shows what a great player she is,” he said.
After the win, Deppen said his players can focus on their homecoming this weekend.