In the eight years of the Marriotts Ridge and Mt. Hebron rivalry, one thing has become certain — the game will be close.
Four of their last five regular-season meetings have been decided by a single goal. Saturday’s 11-10 Mt. Hebron win adds another game to that string of nail biters.
The game, played at Mt. Hebron, was moved from Friday evening to Saturday morning due to rain and wet field conditions.
Both teams came into the contest undefeated in county play.
After losing 12 seniors, including eight starters, Mt. Hebron began the season as a work in progress. The Vikings have grown up quickly.
“We knew it was going to take time and work, and we still have a lot of areas to improve in, but we are in a better position than what we were at the beginning of the season,” said Mt. Hebron coach Trish Derwart.
Mt. Hebron dominated the draw in the early going and Chachi Kelehan scored a pair of quick goals to put Marriotts Ridge in the unfamiliar position of being behind against a county opponent.
“This is such a competitive game,” said Mt. Hebron’s Jen Giles. “We wanted to show them that this wasn’t going to be another walk in the park for them. Chachi’s goals got our intensity even higher and made us realize that we had a great chance in this game.”
Kelehan finished the game with four goals and an assist. Giles had five goals, including the game winner, and an assist.
“Going into it, we knew that Chachi Kelehan and Jen Giles are very, very good players. You look at the stats and they are the ones scoring all the goals,” said Marriotts Ridge coach Amanda Brady.
If Kelehan and Giles are Mt. Hebron’s studs, then their Marriotts Ridge counterparts are Taylor Hensh and Marissa Davey.
“Marriotts Ridge has some very talented players,” Derwart said. “Like any coach, we went in with a game plan and the girls did a great job of executing it.”
The Vikings’ defense, anchored by Tianna Wallpher and Giles, did a good job of forcing turnovers and limiting Marriotts Ridge scoring opportunities.
Hensh (three), Carly Miller (two) and Jenna Kerr (two) provided the bulk of the Marriotts Ridge scoring.
“Today, we pretty much beat ourselves, on offense and on draws,” Hensh said. “On offense we turned over the ball too many times.”
The Mustangs were unsettled offensively, but managed to keep the game close and even take a two-goal lead in the first half. The second half, however, was all catch-up.
“We made mistakes but we were able to redeem ourselves,” Derwart said. “I think that the girls demonstrated a nice mental stability on the field, not letting the highs or lows get to them. Against Marriotts Ridge, you know that they are going to come up with something big.”
That something big nearly came in the closing minute of the game.
Giles scored with 1:05 left to give Mt. Hebron an 11-10 lead. The Vikings called a timeout.
When play resumed, Marriotts Ridge got tme draw and a shot but it missed the cage. Although the Mustangs kept possession of the ball, Giles checked it away and Mt. Hebron went back on attack.