Rarely has top-ranked Mount Hebron needed goalkeeper Ali True the way it needed her last night in the Class 1A-2A championship game at Catonsville Community College.
But with Hebron's high-powered offense sputtering against a resolute Loch Raven defense, True stepped up to make 18 saves, including 14 in the second half, to carry Hebron to a 9-7 win over the Raiders.
The victory capped Hebron's second straight state championship and its second consecutive 18-0 season.
The long-awaited state-title rematch with Loch Raven (17-11) bore no resemblance to last year's easy 15-10 victory by the Vikings. Both teams entered the game averaging 19 goals, but defense dictated the action last night.
True showed why she is headed to Temple on a lacrosse scholarship. She stopped four free-position shots from eight meters away by the Raiders. In the final 10 minutes, after Hebron had taken a 9-5 lead, she produced four key saves, including a kick save on a free shot by Loch Raven's leading scorer, Michele DeJuliis, with 1:20 left.
Loch Raven outshot the Vikings, 32-24, including 21-8 in the second half, when the Raiders controlled the ball for about two-thirds of the half.
"I think it was more of a whole defensive effort, but I was on the ball," said True.
Hebron coach P. J. Kesmodel said: "If you get into a close game, the difference is the goaltender. Ali was phenomenal today. Loch Raven is a great team, and [coach] Wendy [Galinn] had them prepared. They stopped the things we wanted to do."