At the end of a defensive stalemate between Mt. Hebron and Wilde Lake Thursday that lasted through regulation and well into overtime, it seemed only fitting that a defensive stop ended up leading to the deciding score.
Withstanding an initial surge by host Wilde Lake to begin the second overtime period, the Vikings won the ball near their own goal line and then quickly transitioned forward. The ball ended up on the foot of senior captain Riley Benson on a dead sprint through the midfield and she made the most of her opportunity, scoring into the right side of the net with eight minutes showing on the clock for the 1-0 win.
“Throughout the whole game it was all about the defense keeping us in the game, stepping to every ball and limiting their chances to score,” Benson said. “Without our defense, we don’t win that game, so definitely I think it makes sense that we needed them to make a play like they did in order to create the winning goal.”
The win is the fifth straight for Mt. Hebron (5-1), while Wilde Lake (3-3-1) continues to trade wins and losses this season. The Wildecats, which were coming off a one-goal win over Howard on Tuesday, are still searching for their first back-to-back victories.
For two teams that came in averaging two goals per game offensively, it became obvious fairly early on that defense was going to be the deciding factor on an overcast evening.
Wilde Lake goalie Hannah Lowry (14 saves) made some strong stops in the opening 20 minutes and then her defense picked her up as needed, including Olivia Lancaster using her chest to clear the ball off the goal line just before halftime.
Mt. Hebron’s defense answered the call as well despite being down two starters in the back. Vikings coach Tim Deppen said he had to get creative, particularly praising the play of Amber Wartman.
“We had to do a lot of moving around today and Amber as a senior was one of the ones who really stepped up to play left back the entire game. She did a great job and I was really proud of her,” Deppen said. “But, honestly I was proud of all of them. We have been a strong defensive team all year and, even with all the changes, they delivered again. It’s just an incredible squad that we have this year.”
The score stayed tied through the entire second half and first overtime period despite several good chances for both squads. Wilde Lake’s Aicha Wilson had multiple dangerous chances moving the ball up the left wing, while Mt. Hebron forced Lowry to make a couple more lunging saves.
But after Wilde Lake held possession for the first 90 seconds of the second overtime, Mt. Hebron got a clear and found Kylie Ritter just before midfield, and she was then able to play the ball ahead to the streaking Benson.
“Each time we stopped — halftime, before overtime — we kept talking about trying to get that last pass actually through. We were just having such a hard time getting the ball in behind their defenders,” Deppen said. “But on that final one, [Kylie] finally was able to get it past them, and thankfully Riley was able to capitalize.”
Benson said she glanced at the clock as she began her run on that final play and knew that opportunity had to be it.
“I mean, looking at the clock, I knew there weren’t going to be that many more chances,” she said. “So if we wanted to win this game, then I had to just go and find a way to finish that one.”
Benson ended up firing her shot from outside the box just to the right of Lowry for the game-winning goal. It was her second score of the week, as she also found the net in a 3-2 victory over Atholton on Tuesday.
Mt. Hebron’s final game before the county tournament begins is next Tuesday against Reservoir, while Wilde Lake plays that same night against Oakland Mills.
The Mustangs (7-0) secured their seventh straight win and fourth straight shutout, building a 3-0 halftime lead against the host Lightning (2-4-1) on their senior night. Mira Shelat registered a hat trick, while Megan Wagner added the other score in the victory.
Shelat kicked off the scoring in the 10th minute, taking an accurate pass from Jordyn Choe and striking the ball into the lower corner of the net. Minutes later, Shelat scored again and this time it was set up by defender Abigail Eldridge intercepting a pass, dribbling toward the 18-yard box and then crossing it to her teammate for the goal.
The third goal came from Wagner just before the half, as she placed a direct kick into the corner of the goal. Shelat wrapped up the scoring midway through the second half by cleaning up a rebound in front of the goal.
Goals: MR — Mira Shelat 3, Megan Wagner 1.
Assists: MR — Jordyn Choe 1, Abigail Eldridge 1.
Saves: MR — Caroline Albert 3; LR — Kailey Leibe 5.
Halftime: 3-0 MR.
Centennial 8, Hammond 1
River Hill 3, Glenelg 0
The Hawks (6-1) extended their win streak to six in a row with the shutout of the Gladiators (2-5). After a scoreless first half, Milan Gupta (2 goals) broke the tie just 44 seconds into the second half on an assist from Aidan Edmonds. Jed Dixon then scored five minutes later off a feed from Antonio Paulino to make it 2-0. Then Gupta scored again in the 60th minute, this time off a feed from Sarantis Markaris to create the final margin of victory.
Goals: RH — Milan Gupta 2, Jed Dixon 1.
Assists: RH — Aidan Edmonds, Antonio Paulino, Sarantis Markaris.
Saves: RH — Eric Gesell 3; G — N/A.
Oakland Mills 5, Wilde Lake 0
The Scorpions (2-5) secured their second win of the season and first shutout, getting three goals and two assists from Taylor Nelson to lead the way over the Wildecats (1-6).
Goals: OM — Nelson 3, Boonmast 1, Okafor 1.
Assists: OM — Nelson 2, Boonmast, Melgar, Norton.
Saves: OM — Miranda 9, Boonmast 5.
Centennial 6, Hammond 3
The Eagles (5-1) got two goals apiece from Kodee Karcher and Eddie Aguilar, who was making his return to the lineup, in the victory over the Golden Bears (4-3).
Hammond opened the scoring before Centennial answered back with five unanswered goals, kick-started by a first-half score from Sebastian Martinez.
Goals: C — Karcher 2, Aguilar 2, Martinez, Pressman; Ha — Jason Fuentes 2, Diego Carino.
Assists C — Salazar 2, Hockersmith, Karcher; Ha — Easron Rakestraw, Joel San Martin.
Saves: C — Gerrity 6; Ha — Walid Khokhar 9.
Howard 3, Reservoir 2
After falling behind 2-0 at the half, the Lions (4-3) regrouped to pull out a thrilling win over the visiting Gators (4-2). Robbie Ryerson started the comeback with a penalty kick goal 15 minutes into the second half following a red card on Reservoir. The Lions then eventually tied the game with five minutes left in regulation when Will Tom scored off a counter attack.
Ryerson then delivered the deciding score with just six seconds remaining following a long throw from Joe Sircus.
Reservoir got on the board first in the sixth minute as Mang Tuang scored off a pass from Nathan Macek. Then the Gators upped the lead to two 21 minutes later when Noah Gantt one-timed a pass from Owen Bennertz.
Goals: Ho — Robbie Ryerson 2, Will Tom; Re — Mang Tuang, Noah Gantt.
Assists: Ho — Karl Quist Therson, Joe Sircus; Re — Owen Bennertz, Nathan Macek.
Saves: Ho — Rish Banga 2, Luke Ryerson 3.
Halftime: 2-0 Re.
Mt. Hebron 5, Long Reach 1
The Vikings (7-0) remain the last undefeated Howard County boys soccer team following their home win over the Lightning, which saw five different players score a goal.
Goals: MH — Alex Likakis, Jimmy Linsenmeyer, Andy Strohman, Jason Taylor, Ethan Wool-Lewis; LR — N/A.
Assists: MH — Liam McCaffery, Likakis, Linsenmeyer, Wool-Lewis, Gabe Bonilla.
Marriotts Ridge def. Hammond — 2-0 [25-10, 25-12]
The Mustangs (5-2) picked up their second sweep in as many days, this time defeating the Golden Bears (2-5).
Marriotts Ridge stats: Julia Mamo (3 aces, 8 digs), Brenna O’Reilly (2 digs, 11 assists, 3 aces), Olivia Kuznetosva (4 kills), Rachel George (4 kills), Gabby Tseytlin (5 kills) and Leah Liu (1 ace, 1 kill, 3 digs).