Mt. Hebron sophomores Maddie Casto and Annabelle Kazanas have been playing field hockey together since they were little.
That connectivity was on full display during the Vikings’ game-winning goal in their 3-2 victory over No. 5 Glenelg Thursday. Off an unsettled situation, Kazanas beat the Gladiators to the ball and promptly found Casto, who quickly fired the shot inside the far post 7 minutes, 34 seconds into overtime before being swarmed by teammates.
“It’s kind of funny because on JV we won the game the exact same way against Glenelg last year,” Casto said. “We’ve been playing together for a long time and it was just the chemistry.”
Mt. Hebron entered Thursday night’s game keenly aware of its struggles against Glenelg in previous seasons, including a 9-2 defeat in 2021. With a young roster, the Vikings have worked on remaining composed through the fluctuation of emotions in a game.
“That has been one of our weaknesses and we really talked a lot about it over the last week,” Mt. Hebron coach Jeannette Ireland said. “I’m just really proud of them. I think it was the most complete game we have played this season, even over last season. Sometimes we play one good quarter or two good quarters, but this time I think they played really well.”
The first half was a defensive battle as neither team was able to find the back of the net. Both Mt. Hebron’s Kylie Ritter and Glenelg’s Trinity Shackelford were strong in goal, contesting several shots.
The second half, however, was a different story, as the Vikings got on the board just 54 seconds in, as senior Ella Schropp trickled a shot past Shackelford on a rebound. Glenelg soon responded on its first penalty corner of the third period, and AJ Eyre beat Ritter to the far post.
Continuing the back-and-forth battle, Mt. Hebron (5-2 overall, 3-1 Howard County) reclaimed the lead three minutes later off a penalty corner. After the Vikings worked the ball around through several players, sophomore AC Lindner tucked the ball in on a pass from Schropp.
The Gladiators controlled more of the possession to start the final period, which led to the tying goal. Off a penalty corner, Brinkley Eyre chipped the ball to Kate Kim, who tapped it in for the finish as the pendulum of momentum continued.
“I feel like we took the things that we were weak in the last game and we’ve improved them,” Glenelg coach Christina Giampalmo said. “Passing has become so much better.”
With the intensity rising down the stretch, both teams had penalty corners in the final four minutes. Glenelg’s last came with nine seconds remaining. However, Ritter was there to make a diving save to send the game to overtime.
During the sudden-death period, Mt. Hebron’s defense tightened up and did not allow Glenelg (3-2, 2-1) any penalty corner opportunities. As the 10-minute period progressed, the Vikings spent more time in the Gladiators’ attacking zone. Shackelford stoned them all — until the breakthrough tally.
“I just think setting a foundation for a younger team as we grow throughout the years,” Kazanas said of the team’s mentality. “Having this win against Glenelg is really helping with our confidence, which I think is really good.”