The state has caught up. Mt. Hebron, which has shown shades of its old invincibility this season, lost, 6-5, to Queen Anne's CountyHigh School Friday night in a Class 3A/2A state semifinal game played at Annapolis High School.
Mt. Hebron led, 5-1, early in the second half and then the dreams of playing for a 16th state title slipped away with Queen Anne's scoring five unanswered goals. Three of the tallies came on 8-meter shots.
Once again draw possession was the key. Mt. Hebron had it in the first half; Queen Anne's got it in the second.
"As a team, we know draw control is the game. Usually when we can get the draw, we can score. We knew that the way we had to win was to get the draw," said Queen Anne's senior Bre Hamm, who drew against Mt. Hebron's Sam Brookhart most of the game.
"The second half, they wanted (the draw)," Brookhart said. "We wanted it, too, but they wanted it more and the momentum shift changed very fast."
With Haley Sutton and Jamie Schwartz each scoring twice, Mt. Hebron led, 4-1, at the half. Brookhart added a goal on a crease roll early in the second half, then Mt. Hebron's scoring stopped as the Lions started getting possession of the ball and changed the tempo of the game.
Mollie Stevens scored the Lions' second goal as she reentered the game following a yellow card. A little over two minutes later Jess Crew did the same thing on an 8-meter shot just after she returned to the field after receiving a yellow card.
That made the score 5-3, Mt. Hebron.
"Once we got that goal and the second one, our momentum went up 100 percent," Hamm said.
Riding that crest, Crew quickly added another goal and then Abby O'Donnell scored to make it 5-5. Both were 8-meter shots.
O'Donnell got what proved to be the game-winner with 2:05 left when she fired at nearly point-blank range on Mt. Hebron keeper Maddy Fisher (seven saves).
The Vikings had several opportunities to tie the score in the last minute of the game. Brookhart had an 8-meter shot that was checked away by a defender, and Schwartz got off a shot that Queen Anne's keeper Cassidy Wilson saved.
"It was coming at me and I knew I had to save it. I put my body, my head and everything I needed to put into saving it," Wilson said.
With 35 seconds remaining, Mt. Hebron got the ball back on a turnover at midfield but the Vikings couldn't get their offense going.
"It was two very different halves," said Mt. Hebron coach Trish Derwart Sullivan. "We stepped out of our game. We're slow and patient on offense and we started to mirror their game. We were more chaotic and rushed on our offense and that really hurt us.
"We had opportunities. We had opportunities in the end and we just couldn't close it."
"They are actually a great team," Wilson said. "We're a strong team, too, and we came out hard. We knew there was a lot on our plates but we knew what we wanted to do — we wanted to win."
Wilson is one of seven seniors on the Queen Anne's team. The Lions have been to the state semifinals for four straight years and beating Mt. Hebron entitles them to their first appearance in the state championship game.
"We knew it was our time," Wilson said, "and we wanted to take care of it."
Mt. Hebron, which has just two seniors, will have to wait another year.
"This season we accomplished a lot," said Derwart Sullivan. "We accomplished a mental success that we really needed in this program and that was capturing the regional championship and I think that win alone will propel our program forward. …This wasn't the ending that we were hoping for, but we have to live and learn. We have some young players on the team and I hope that they learn from this experience and next year we can make another statement."
The state championship game will be played Tuesday or Wednesday at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Queen Anne's 6, Mt. Hebron 5
Goals: QA - Crew 3, Ab. O'Donnell 2, Stevens. MH - Sutton 2, Schwartz 2, Brookhart.
Assists: QA - none. MH - Brookhart, Schwartz.
Saves: QA - Wilson 11. MH - Fisher 7.
Halftime: Mt. Hebron, 4-1.