Senior striker Amy Fine and freshman striker Shannon Otto scored hat tricks in Mount Hebron's league-opening 6-1 victory over visiting Atholton yesterday.
The win, coming on the heels of last Friday's 1-0 victory over then ninth-ranked C. Milton Wright, left first-year Mount Hebron coach Warren Michael excited about his team's possibilities for the remainder of the season. The Vikings are now 4-1 overall.
Can a team go from last to first in such a competitive girls soccer league as Howard County's? Michael is thinking positively and instructing his players to do the same.
In fact, when Fine predicted a third-place league finish for Mount Hebron, Michael chastised her.
"We're not shooting for third place," Michael said. "We want to finish first or we wouldn't be out here."
Michael said he was told he'd finish no better than third place when he took over Mount Hebron's boys lacrosse program. Instead, the Vikings won the county title that first year and have won two state, five regional and four county lacrosse titles under his direction.
Michael hopes Mount Hebron's dominant play against Atholton and its 4-1 record indicate that the Vikings will be no patsy in league play. Mount Hebron returns six starters from a 7-7 team that made it to the regional finals. But it won just one league game and finished tied for last place with Atholton.
The hat tricks were the first in high school competition for Fine and Otto, who played for State Cup champion club teams last spring. Fine plays for the Columbia Command and Otto for the Columbia Spirit.
The three goals boosted Fine's season total to five goals. Otto is the Vikings' leading scorer with seven goals and five assists.
Although Mount Hebron starts four freshmen, Atholton (0-1, 2-3) is even younger and was intimidated by the Vikings' aggressive play.
Led by senior stopper Stephanie Otto, Shannon's sister, and senior goalkeeper Stacia Hepburn, Mount Hebron's defense shut out Atholton until late in the second half. Atholton's top scorer, Stephanie Van Deusen (six goals, two assists), was blanked.
Mount Hebron's strength is down the middle and includes freshman sweeper Julie Kickham, an Olympic Development state team player.
The Vikings wasted no time routing Atholton. The Vikings scored four times in the first 15 minutes.
Otto scored the game's first goal, off a direct kick from Christie Caiazzo, from outside the box on the left side.
Fine scored Mount Hebron's second goal on a left-footer from 18 yards that she placed over freshman Atholton goalie Janine Dauberman's head. A cross by Kickham set up the goal.
Fine scored the third goal by trapping the ball 18 yards out, dribbling three times and kicking the it into the upper net on the left side.
Otto scored two more times before the half, once on a header off a kick by Lori Pasquentonio.
Amrit Dhillon scored for Atholton off an unsettled situation in front of the goal 29 minutes into the second half.
Fine scored Mount Hebron's final goal with three minutes left, beating Dauberman one-on-one at the 10-yard line on the right side.