Both teams are athletic and talented. Both have two 50-plus goal scorers. Both were state champions in 1997.
Tonight's 6 o'clock Class 1A-2A state final between No. 5 Towson and No. 6 Mount Hebron at UMBC has everything a championship game should have.
This will be Towson's third straight trip to the final Class 1A-2A final. The Generals lost two years ago before beating Loch Raven last season for their first championship.
Mount Hebron has won five state titles in the last six years, including last season's 8-6 win over Severna Park for the 3A-4A title.
The Vikings (15-3) create problems -- and turnovers -- for opponents with their aggressive defense. How quickly the Generals (16-1) adjust to the Vikings' unrelenting pressure will be one of the keys to the game.
"They're going to try to take us out of our game," said Towson's first-year Jill Altshuler. "They like to work behind [the crease] and double-team behind, which has the potential to change the way we play. We play more of a transition game and a settled attack. Our girls will have to be able to respond to that and find the openings."
Mount Hebron coach Chris Robinson said Towson has "some tremendous athletes, especially in the midfield," and a "solid defense." He said both teams "are balanced in the attack" and that each team has "a number of weapons they can go to."
The Generals are averaging 15 goals behind Lindsay Buchanan (57 goals, 35 assists), Eva Claire Synkowski (58, 11) and Katie Dolan (35, 20), and are allowing just 5.2 goals. Buchanan and Jaimee Reynolds were second-team All-Metro defenders last year. Sophomore goalie Claire Hoeckel averages 9.3 saves per game.
The Vikings, led by Tracey Bounds (51, 49), Lauren Kickham (53, 19), Polly Purcell (32, 23) and Katie Nordhoff (34, 12), average 19 goals per game. Their defense allows just 5.2, backed by senior goalie Kristen Foster, who set a record last year with 12 saves in the state tournament final.
"I think the game will come down to possession and goalie play," Robinson said.
Both teams have lost only to team's ranked above them. The Vikings started off the season 0-2 after losing to No. 1 Roland Park, 15-11, and No. 4 Bryn Mawr, 13-9. They also fell to No. 3 St. Mary's, 13-7. Towson, which has won nine straight games, has lost only to No. 2 Notre Dame Prep, 14-13, when NDP was the top-ranked team.
Pub Date: 5/19/98