Through 50 minutes of play on Thursday, Mt. Hebron’s field hockey team looked poised to stay undefeated in Howard County play and win their seventh straight game.
The Vikings led host Marriotts Ridge by one goal, and the Mustangs weren’t creating many scoring opportunities on offense.
Sometimes, though, all it takes is one goal to change the entire complexion of a game.
Marriotts Ridge junior Julie Lawler scored the game-tying goal with about nine minutes remaining, which swung momentum in the Mustangs’ favor. The Mustangs scored two more goals in the final eight minutes to stun first-place Mt. Hebron, 3-1.
Marriotts Ridge field hockey players Emma Gladstein and Julie Lawler talk about the Mustangs' 3-1 win over rival Mt. Hebron.
“I don’t think we panic,” Lawler said. “We stay strong, and eventually we get our rhythm going and start scoring.”
Senior Emma Gladstein scored the Mustangs’ game-winning goal about two minutes after Lawler tied the game.
“They’re a very good team, but after Julie’s goal, we knew we could keep scoring,” Gladstein said.
Marriotts Ridge (4-1-1 Howard County, 6-5-1) is grouped with River Hill as the one-loss, one-tie teams behind Mt. Hebron in the county standings.
Head coach Stacie Gado said her team’s win is proof her players are “learning from every game.” She pointed to the Mustangs’ 4-4 tie to River Hill last week, in which the Hawks scored in the first five minutes of the game.
“They kind of were a little panicked in that game,” Gado said. “Talking about that after and realizing that, we fixed it. Today they kept their composure.”
Mt. Hebron head coach Jeannette Ireland said to beat a team like Marriotts Ridge, “you have to bring your best game.” The Vikings controlled the game’s pace in the first half and early in the second half, but the Mustangs were more aggressive on offense and maintained possession for the final 20 minutes of the contest. Despite the loss, Mt. Hebron (4-1, 7-3) remains in first place in the standings and controls its own fate in search of the county championship.
“I feel bad for my kids, especially my seniors,” Ireland said. “I didn’t feel like we were as sharp as we needed to be.”
Neither team scored for the first 23 minutes of the game at Marriotts Ridge High School. Haley Kampert scored off a penalty corner to put the Vikings up 1-0 late in the first half. The junior was assisted by senior Ally DeBels, who inserted the ball on the corner. The Vikings had several corners in the first half but none in the second half.
“We didn’t finish very well in the first half, and then we didn’t get a lot of opportunities to score in the second half,” Ireland said.
Lawler’s goal was made possible by senior Eloise Clevenger, who sped past two Vikings defenders on the right wing and fired a pass into the circle. Lawler then reverse flicked ball past Hebron’s goalie to tie the game.
“Elle is super fast and super athletic and can bring that ball down the right side of the field,” Gado said. “A lot of times her hits are so hard across we’re not able to get them, but (Julia) was in the right spot on that one.”
“Their right wing is outstanding,” Ireland said. “She was very good. That was the difference.”
Gladstein’s game-winning goal was made possible due to a change on the Mustangs’ corner alignment. Instead of Gladstein inserting the ball as she had on the previous corners, Gado swapped her and Lawler.
“I was getting a little too nervous and messing it up; they were too bouncy,” Gladstein said. “Julie is really good under pressure with that stuff, so she needed to take them instead.”
Kaylie Savage scored Marriotts Ridge’s third goal off a corner at the end of regulation.