At the end of what coach Mike Linsenmeyer called the biggest week of the team’s season so far, Mt. Hebron delivered arguably its most thrilling victory.
Less than two minutes into the first overtime period against Glenelg on Thursday evening, Trevor Namie fired home a ball flicked to him off the head of Johnny Linsenmeyer to seal a 2-1 victory and keep the Vikings alone in first place in the county standings.
“Obviously it was a huge week, playing probably the two best teams in the county coming in and it was up to us to raise our level of play,” said Mike Linsenmeyer, whose team was coming off 3-1 win over Centennial two days earlier. “Centennial is our rival too, so that was an emotional win, and then we had to rebound right away today against another great team. So I am very proud of the kids.
“I really do think we came out today and played pretty well, had great energy … and we made the big play at the end when it counted.”
On the decisive score, which came with 8:32 showing on the clock in the golden-goal period, Mt. Hebron (6-1, 8-1) capitalized on a set piece fired into the box by Jacob Parrott. Linsenmeyer won the ball in the air, redirecting it to Namie who was ready to one-touch it inside the right post.
“(We) were playing great balls in all game, so I saw that it was getting bounced out towards the top of the box near the penalty spot and Johnny got up and made a play,” Namie said. “He got a flick on the ball, it bounced off a defender and I was there and I just finished it.”
For Glenelg (4-3), the loss was the team’s second straight in overtime. The team, which came into the week tied for first place, had suffered a similar 2-1 defeat against Howard on Tuesday.
While the team did play toe-to-toe with the Vikings for much of the contest, ultimately it was set pieces that did the team in.
“It’s not easy to be in this spot, losing two in a row like this, but we knew coming into this year, with the way the county is, it was going to be a grind,” Glenelg coach Joseph Osborne said. “One of the things that we have struggled with has been set pieces and sure enough, it sort of came back to bite us tonight. I thought we did a lot of good things, but in the end it just wasn’t quite enough.”
Mt. Hebron had capitalized in the first half on another set piece, scoring on a header by Linsenmeyer off a long throw by Alex Simak with 16:32 remaining before intermission.
The score stayed that way, 1-0 in favor of the Vikings, until after halftime. Glenelg finally found the equalizer with exactly 32 minutes left in regulation when Ramzy Ahmed fired a hard shot in the box into the left side of the net.
Mt. Hebron threatened down the stretch to retake the lead, but Glenelg goalie Zach Rizk (8 saves) made several big stops. His one-on-one save on a shot by Namie with eight minutes remaining was particularly big.
But, in the end, Mt. Hebron was simply not to be denied.
Following the game-winning score, the Vikings rushed the field to celebrate and Namie said afterward the significance of the victory was not lost on the team.
“It’s so big and we talked [coming in] about how big this game is for us winning the county,” he said. “We are going to keep working hard and hopefully [continue to] be successful.”
Mt. Hebron 2, Glenelg 1 OT
Goals: MH – Linsenmeyer, Namie; G – Ahmed.
Assists: MH – Simak, Linsenmeyer.
Saves: MH – Jones 4; G – Rizk 8.
Half: 1-0 MH.
Centennial 4, Wilde Lake 0
The Eagles snapped a two-game losing streak with the shutout win over the Wildecats.
Goals: C – Narmouq 2, Drutch, Atmar.
Assists: C – Breedlove, Taylor, Good, Haskins.
Saves: C – Vepa 4; WL – N/A.
River Hill 2, Howard 1
The Hawks scored twice in the second half on penalty kicks by Gianni Gupta, the second coming with three minutes left in regulation, to earn the victory over the Lions.
Goals: RH – Gupta 2; Ho – Weaver.
Assist: Ho – Marakchi.
Saves: RH – Sherlock 7; Ho – Hartlove 6.
Oakland Mills 3, Long Reach 1
Goals: OM – Onumah, Bruno 2; LR – N/A.
Assists: OM – Casseus 2, Higgins; LR – N/A.