Pat Halter undoubtedly is the best player on a Mount Hebron soccer team that is having a stunning 7-3-1 season.
Already this Vikings team has five league victories -- the most in school history. And Halter, a junior midfielder, scored the game-winning goal in four of those five wins.
By far the biggest of those goals was the one in the first league game against Oakland Mills, which was 4-0 and ranked No. 3 at the time. Mount Hebron was 2-2-1.
Halter scored the game's only goal by following up a missed shot by teammate Mike Stromberg. Stromberg's shot hit the post and Halter headed in the rebound.
"Mount Hebron had never beaten Oakland Mills," Halter said. "That win turned our season around and gave us the confidence to beat Hammond."
Halter also scored the game's only goal against Hammond. The Bears were ranked No. 8 and had lost one game.
Halter scored that game-winner with three minutes left in the second overtime by beating his defender at the 6-yard line.
"He's a great player," Hammond coach Rick Corkran said. "He's what makes that team go."
Halter, who has six goals and four assists, scored other game-winning goals in 2-0 wins against Howard and Glenelg.
Mount Hebron had its most successful league season last year, going 4-3. But that still didn't earn the Vikings much respect from other league teams. They wanted to see if Mount Hebron could do it again before they believed the Vikings had really stepped up into the highly competitive world of Howard County soccer.
"We thought we could beat everyone but Centennial this season," Halter said. Centennial handed the Vikings their only league loss, 4-0.
Halter brings a tremendous soccer background to Mount Hebron.
He is an ODP regional pool member who plays for a Columbia City United club team that made the regional final last summer.
Halter moved to Maryland four years ago from California where he played on an under-12 Northern California championship team.
"I'm glad I moved here because soccer is real big here," he said. "Maryland ODP teams usually come out on top."
Halter has superb field vision and is a great counter-attacker. He can attack at full speed and switch the point of attack quickly. And he has a hard shot.
"He creates shots with his speed and technical skills," Mount Hebron coach Scott Conroy said. "He takes all of our free kicks and defends the other team's top player on their free kicks and throw-ins."
Halter, who has played soccer since he was 4, is strong in the air, knowledgeable and extremely competitive.
"He has become a positive leader," Conroy said.
Halter thinks he needs to work on improving his left foot and his self-confidence.
He says that one reason Mount Hebron has done so well is that the team takes nothing for granted.
"We take every game like it is going to be our hardest game," he said. "We think every opponent will be tough."
He also praises teammates such as Stromberg, Robbie Graham, Terrence Buckley, Tom Wunk, Jason Reese, Brian Picker and freshmen Matt Midura and Pete Lindahl.
"Wunk [a sophomore goalkeeper] has been the biggest surprise because he had big shoes to fill. So far he's been our MVP," Halter said.
As for having scored six of his team's 17 goals, Halter shrugs, "Scoring is nice, but I just want to win. Our goal was to have a winning season and do well in the county. Now it is to keep winning."