It was anything but an ominous Friday the 13th for Mt. Hebron boys lacrosse.
The Vikings put together one of their best performances of the season and scored nine-straight goals between the first and third quarters to knock off visiting Winters Mill, 11-4, to advance to the 3A/2A South Region semifinals Monday.
"I was happy with our overall performance," said Mt. Hebron coach Mike McCarthy. "We were very stagnant for two or three weeks, standing around watching the ball. We had a nice week of practice and we've done some things differently to move off the ball more. We did that today."
The Vikings (10-5) got two goals apiece from Dylan Scheeler, Kyle Sutton and Nick Nordhausen to lead the offense, while goalie Casey DuBois (eight saves) and his defensemen held Falcons attackman Spencer Eysamen to two goals.
Mt. Hebron's offense has struggled at times this year, but McCarthy said having seven full days between games helped the unit find a rhythm. The biggest key to finding it Friday, though, was winning the face-off battle, 13-4, and earning extra possessions on sloppy play from Winters Mill. The Vikings fired a total of 42 shots in the contest and at least nine in every quarter.
"Part of it is that we haven't had the ball. If we can stay 50-50 on the ground balls we're pretty efficient offensively," he said. "If we don't have possession we're going to struggle to score goals."
On the other side, Falcons first-year coach Jeff Beeker said his team simply forgot how to throw and catch after Brendan Markovic scored 45 seconds into the game to take a 1-0 lead. Mt. Hebron scored the next nine goals before Spencer Eysaman found the net with 3 minutes, 34 seconds left in the third quarter.
"That's the best way I know how to describe it," he said. "We forgot how to pass and catch and we forgot how to pick up the ground ball. ... When you have a fundamental breakdown like that, it just happens. There's nothing in the past or nothing in the future that effects it. It just happens."
Scheeler tied the game at 1 with a strike with 4:18 left in the first quarter and it was all Mt. Hebron from that point on. Scheeler assisted Kyle Watts toward the end of the quarter, and Sutton buried the next two goals early in the second to push the lead to 4-1. The Vikings added three more goals in the final 6:33 of the half to take a comfortable 7-1 advantage at the break.
The next two tallies just about summed up the type of day it was for Winters Mill. Long-pole defender Matt Leone took the clear himself, circled the goal and buried his underhand shot while falling by Falcons goalie Zach Peters, and then Leone hurled a 70-yard pass to Anders Nillson, who beat Peters one-on-one for a goal while down a man.
"We're trying to get some continuity. We've had players playing different spots and trying to find the right fit," McCarthy said. "We've had about three weeks with kids in the same spots so they are developing that relationship on the field. They're looking for each other and know each other's tendencies."
Nordhausen and Scheeler both found the goal to start the fourth quarter before Eysaman and Cherokee Johnson netted the last two goals of the game in the last 1:52 to create the final 11-4 margin.
While Beeker was disappointed his team played poorly in their last game of the season, he says the future is bright for the program with the number of talented underclassmen on the roster.
"The positives are (Bubba Love) is a freshman and we've got three or four juniors and sophomores who are going to play well going forward and got a lot of playing time this year," he said.