The girls lacrosse teams from Mount Hebron and Loch Raven have been on a collision course all season.
And last night in the Class 2A/1A championship game at Catonsville Community College, Mount Hebron turned a much-anticipated showdown into a 15-10 victory that ended Loch Raven's 67-game winning streak. The Raiders had not lost in six years and had beaten Hebron last year in the semifinals en route to their state championship.
It was night of firsts for both teams, beginning with the Vikings (18-0), who won their first state championship and wound up their first undefeated season since lacrosse was introduced in -- Howard County in 1988.
P. J. Kesmodel became the first lacrosse coach in state history to win state titles with boys and girls teams. Kesmodel coached Hebron's boys team to a state crown in 1983.
"I never thought it would happen," said Loch Raven junior Michele DeJulius, who fought back tears after her eight-goal performance failed to overcome a Hebron team that had too much speed, too many stick skills and too many offensive weapons for the Raiders.
DeJulius, who finished the season with 90 goals, suffered the first loss of her high school career.
"We were writing 67-1 on some posters today. There's always a (( little bit of doubt, but I tried to think positive," said Andrea Cuzmanes, Hebron's senior center, who had two goals and two assists and controlled the middle of the field as she has done all season.
"We knew what they [Raiders] were going to do," she added. "P. J. scouted them three times, and we went out there and played Hebron's game and shut them down."
The heroines were everywhere for Hebron. Lori Pasquantonio had six goals and two assists. Megan Drake had five goals. Goalie Ali True played the game of her career with 16 saves, including 10 in a terrific first half. Amy Fine scored a goal and seemed to beat opponents to ground balls for the entire first half.
"I thought we could beat them by seven or eight goals," Kesmodel said. "I didn't want to tell anybody, but I thought it really was possible. We've come a long way since '88."
True made several outstanding saves, Hebron's defense swarmed all over the Raiders, and the Vikings went on a 6-0 run that gave them an 8-2 lead with 1:27 left in the half.