With possessions crucial against visiting Wilde Lake Monday, Mt. Hebron coach Mike McCarthy knew his team would be in good hands with Ryung Lee handling the majority of faceoff duties.
Some of them came easier than others, but the senior did his job in the center of the field. Lee was a perfect 18-for-18 for the Vikings, who went on to defeat the Wildecats, 12-6.
“I always make it my priority to win every faceoff,” said Lee, who also added his first goal of his varsity career in the win. “To me, that’s a separate part of the game in itself.”
With Lee continuously supplying his team with opportunities on the offensive end, scorers like Shane Brookhart (2 goals), Kyle Sutton (2), Kyle Watts (2) and Thomas Stone (2) all made sure his efforts weren’t wasted.
Though McCarthy thinks there is still much to improve on when it comes to taking that next step as a serious offensive threat, the coach is optimistic that the team’s time is coming.
“We played hard, we’re just not always playing smart and finishing,” he said. “We’re getting there. We’re shooting for May.”
Finishing seemed to be the Vikings' biggest problem in the first half against the Wildecats, especially after converting for just four goals on nearly 20 shots.
To make matters more difficult, Mt. Hebron (2-1, 2-2) was also forced to deal with Wilde Lake goalie Joe Boccher, who finished with 22 saves on the day.
Siyon Lowe scored twice for the Wildecats (1-1, 2-1) in the first half, and Jack Quinn added another goal, which kept the Vikings close until the break.
“We played really good team offense when we got the ball,” said Wilde Lake coach Jon Robinson. “When we had the ball, I liked our chances. It was getting it that was tough.”
Ahead 4-3 at halftime, the Vikings used a third quarter scoring barrage to ultimately pull away.
It started nearly four minutes into the period, when Zach Stevens hit Kevin Webster for a score to put his team ahead by two. Wilde Lake answered less than 30 seconds later, when Pierson Swanson cut the deficit back to one.
Soon, though, Lee’s perfection from the faceoff was too much to handle for the visitors, who allowed four more unanswered goals to close out the quarter.
“It was make it, take it,” said Robinson, crediting Lee’s effort. “It’s tough when you’re in a situation like that. Our kids got tired. They played a lot of defense and they just wore us down.”
The Vikings took advantage of three more unanswered scores in the fourth quarter to close out the win.
Citing offensive consistency as an issue he believes can be fixed in the coming weeks, Lee said he has high hopes for what the Vikings can achieve.
“We’re not finishing right now, and we see that,” he said. “Once we get that up, and our defense plays smart, I think we are going to be one of the top contenders in the county.”
Mt. Hebron 12, Wilde Lake 6
Goals: MH – Shane Brookhart (2), Kyle Sutton (2), Thomas Stone (2), Kyle Watts (2), Zach Stevens, Brian Demek, Kevin Webster and Ryung Lee; WL – Siyon Lowe (2), Jack Quinn, Pierson Swanson, John Radcliffe and Danny Chu.
Assists: MH – Stevens, Demek, Stone and Stefen Chavis; WL – Chu, Patrick Riley, Radcliffe and Ryan Tiffey.
Saves: MH – Casey Dubois 6; WL – Joe Boccher 22.
Half: 4-3, Vikings