Some Mt. Hebron girls soccer players have the word “hungry” written on their wrist during games.
The word serves as a reminder of how the team wants to play.
Well, if goals were food, the Vikings would have full stomachs.
Mt. Hebron has scored 17 goals during its winning streak, which extended to four games with the Vikings’ 4-2 victory over Howard on Thursday.
“We talk about being hungry,” said Mt. Hebron head coach Tim Deppen. “They see ‘hungry’ and they’re constantly reminded that we’re out here following up what we did last postseason. We’re letting people know that wasn’t a fluke, and we’re here to play and to win.”
Deppen knew coming into the season that his attack would be a strength of his team that peaked at the end of last season, when the Vikings advanced to the Class 3A state semifinals after a 4-7-1 regular season. The three previous triumphs in the winning streak were against Long Reach (7-1), Reservoir (1-0) and Atholton (5-0).
“We’re scoring goals, and we’re confident,” Deppen said. “That’s what I thought was going to happen this season, that our attackers were going to put the pressure on.”
Senior midfielder Mia Flack, who scored a goal and had three assists in the win, said the Vikings have found their “groove” on offense.
“I don’t think we knew coming into the year that (the offense) would be this strong, but we’ve been getting better and working hard in practice,” she said.
Mt. Hebron (4-1 Howard County, 5-4) came out firing to start the game at Howard (2-3-1, 4-4-1) with a goal 57 seconds after the opening whistle from Flack. Maddie Hammond put the Vikings up 2-0 in the 22nd minute, with Flack earning her first assist of three on the night.
The Lions then scored two straight goals to tie the game. Nuela Fonmedig found the back of the net with seven minutes left in the first half. The senior forward scored off a rebound after teammate Danielle Campbell fired a shot that Vikings goalie Ainsley Sowers saved. Fonmedig, who leads the Lions with six goals this season, then assisted Maya Rawlings on a goal early in the second half to tie the game.
The Vikings scored two goals — one in the 59th minute and the other in the 66th minute — after Howard tied the game. Deppen said he was “thrilled” that his players didn’t “panic” after Howard made its comeback.
“I questioned if I needed to make substitutions as a coach, but (we) flipped the switch and it was a different last 25 minutes,” Deppen said.
Sophomore midfielder Jessie Barke scored the game-winning goal while Howard’s defense was compromised. A Howard player went down with an injury, and as the Lions defenders expected a whistle from the officials, Barke scored to put the Vikings up 3-2. Katelyn Hanks then gave Hebron cushion a few minutes later to seal the victory. Flack assisted both goals.
With four different goal scorers, Deppen said depth is a strength for the Vikings.
“It helps when injuries come up and it helps to get girls rest,” Deppen said. “I know that any one of these girls can come on this field and light it up. It’s a very good problem to have.”
Hebron’s four-game winning streak has followed a four-game losing streak, during which the Vikings played rival Centennial and three tough Anne Arundel County opponents.
“We don’t have girls who will be affected mentally by losing a few games,” Deppen said. “Those Anne Arundel County teams have a lot of talent. We knew that stretch would be difficult. We didn’t give ourselves a hard time, and maturity is definitely a big part of that."
Both teams are off until Thursday, Oct. 3. Hebron hosts Marriotts Ridge, while Howard plays at Glenelg.
Mt. Hebron 4, Howard 2
Goals: MH — Mia Flack, Maddie Hammond, Jessie Barke, Katelyn Hanks; Ho — Nuela Fonmedig, Maya Rawlings.
Assists: MH — Flack 3. Ho — Fonmedig.
Halftime: 2-1, MH