The defending 3A/2A South regional champions didn't look the part in the early stages of its opening round playoff game at Oakland Mills on Wednesday.
The Vikings struggled to get shots past Scorpions goalie Chris McGlothan, who made seven saves in the first quarter, and they led by just one after 12 minutes of play.
The message from Mt. Hebron coach Mike McCarthy was a simple one: just keep working.
"We didn't shoot the ball very well and their kid made some saves and they're not a bad lacrosse team, either. They weren't going to roll over for us," he said. "It just took some time."
The Vikings stormed past the Scorpions in the second quarter, scoring three unanswered goals, and put the game out of reach in the third with six more to win 16-3 and advance to the second round for a regular season-finale rematch against Marriotts Ridge on Friday night.
Karson Porter won 19 of his 21 face-offs to help the Vikings slowly wear down Oakland Mills' defense and junior attackman Nick Nordhausen had a dominant offensive performance with six goals and two assists. McCarthy said it was par for the course from what he's seen from his leader in recent weeks.
"He's stepped up. We had a conversation about him being a positive leader and he's such a dominant personality that if he's a positive leader, they will all follow him," McCarthy said. "The last three weeks he's been an all-county attackman. When he's engaged and he's locked in and he's being coachable, he's a force. He's a 220-pound attackman who can shoot with both hands and can also dodge. He's an elite athlete in our county."
Nordhausen, who saw playing time on last year's state finalist team but is in his first year as a starter, said he has embraced his leadership role and realizes its importance with freshmen starters Mateo Brown and Garrett Snyder learning the ropes of varsity play.
"It's been a young team so there have been some learning curves throughout the season," he said. "We started off kind of slow trying to build chemistry and figure it all out and now we're starting roll."
The Scorpions hung around through the first 23 minutes of the game and trailed 3-1 entering the final minute of the first half. But goals by Simon Perna and Nordhausen in the final 50 seconds of the second quarter gave the Vikings momentum into the break, and Nordhausen scored twice more in the first 2 minutes, 34 seconds of the third to make it 7-1.
Nick Miller's goal for Oakland Mills stopped Mt. Hebron's 6-0 run, but the Vikings rallied again with a 5-0 run that included three goals in 43 seconds late in the third quarter.
Mt. Hebron junior Joey Schwartz talks about his team's 8-7 victory over River Hill on Saturday, April 1. (Tim Schwartz/Baltimore Sun video)
The loss ends one of the Scorpions' best seasons in program history. They finish the year with a 9-6 record and swept Hammond, Long Reach and Wilde Lake, while also knocking off Reservoir to earn their first win over a middle tier team in more than a decade.
Evan Riss' career in an Oakland Mills jersey also came to a close. He will play at Ohio State next spring.
"Evan's meant a lot. He's like having an extra coach on the field. His work ethic — practice, game, game prep, film prep — the kids see it and they want to emulate it," said Scorpions coach Skip Darden. "We've got more kids committed to working out, more kids committed to playing in the summer and indoor. Evan has meant a lot to the Oakland Mills' program."
McCarthy coached Riss during the Under Armour Underclassmen tournament the last two years and said his success at Oakland Mills can't be understated.
"What he's done for this school ... he's a major reason they had a 9-6 season. They built that program around him. I have tremendous respect for him and his family for what he's been able to do and lead that program," McCarthy said. "Three game-winning goals in overtime this year. He easily could've left and gone wherever he wanted but he didn't. It sends a message to any kid in our county."
Saves: MR — Colin Kelley 5, Mitch Evans 2, Matt Cimerola; WM — NA
Halftime: 10-3, Marriotts Ridge
Centennial (13-2) — 15, Reservoir (4-11) — 3
Goals: C — Peter Krawczyk 4, Jeremy Wilson 3, Josiah Gavlin 3, Thomas Thurmond 3, Charlie Hockersmith, Tommy Kolp
Assists: C — Krawczyk 3, Wilson 2, Ty Sams
Saves: C — Jack Schlossberg 9
Halftime: 8-2, Centennial
Glenelg (9-6) — 15, Manchester Valley — 1
3A/2A South, Section II:
River Hill (8-7) — 19, Long Reach (1-11) — 0
Goals: RH — Jon Felix 4, Brendan McKenna 2, Tyler Hopkins 2, Cory Marciniak 2, Max Friedman, Brett Shaw, Anthony Behrman, Derek Isaac, Josh Weingrad, Connor Lawrence, Griffin Cinotti, Elan Azraeli
Assists: RH — Cory Marciniak 3, Max Friedman 2, Brendan Mckenna 2, Michael Borkowski, Jon Felix
Saves: RH — Kevin Hickey, Ben Uhl 3
Halftime: 14-0, River Hill
Atholton (8-7) — 16, Hammond (4-9) — 3
Goals: A — Jake Peretti 2, Evan Monthie 2, Max Xuan 2, Tristan Rhodovi 2, Justin Ahmuty 2, Nick Ciccone 2, Jay Clute, Rick Mooney, Keenan Long, Nolan Krasnick; Ha — Brendan Smith, Ty Walburger, Tony Ceresa
Assists: A — Clute 2, N. Ciccone 2, Mooney, Matt Barila, Peretti, Krasnick, Rhodovi, Jacob Lampf; Ha — None