Before last night's state final, Towson coach Jill Altshuler said her team needed to find the open player against No. 6 Mount Hebron's double-teaming defense if the Generals were to have any chance of winning.
Instead it was the Vikings who quickly found the holes in No. 5 Towson's defense.
The Vikings scored three goals in the first minute and a half en route to a 9-7 victory and the state Class 1A/2A championship at UMBC Stadium. The title was their second straight and sixth overall. No other team -- boys or girls -- has won more than four.
Last night, the Vikings (16-3) won the first three draws and had a 3-0 lead before Towson ever touched the ball.
Tracey Bounds, who set a Mount Hebron record for most assists (53) in a single season, had two in the opening minutes.
Kept under wraps by Towson defender Jaimee Reynolds, Bounds found Annie Collins wide open on the crease just 31 seconds into the game. After Katie Nordhoff scored on a free position, Bounds hit Nordhoff in front.
The Generals (16-2) did not get closer than within three goals until the final 31 seconds. They simply could not contend with the Vikings speed and double-teaming high-pressure defense.
"It just really caught us by surprise," said Generals midfielder Lindsay Buchanan. "We didn't have our marks and we were losing people in the middle. It was little breakdowns on defense that allowed them to get those easy shots. We outplayed them in the second half, but we dug a hole for ourselves early."
Although Mount Hebron only outshot Towson, 23-22, the Generals couldn't put much past Vikings keeper Kristen Foster. The senior finished with 10 saves, several key interceptions and made precise clears throughout the game.
"Foster comes up big in the big games," said Bounds. "She's great at clears. She's great at saving. She's great at everything."
Last year, Foster set a record for most saves in a Class 3A/4A championship game with 13. Last night, she didn't have as many chances, but her stand early in the second half kept the Generals from mounting a comeback.
Foster saved three free-position shots in the first nine minutes of the half to preserve a 6-3 Vikings lead. In the next four minutes, Collins and Polly Purcell added goals to boost the lead 8-3.
Although Towson handled the pressure better in the second half and Buchanan had three of her game-high five goals in the final 7: 36, the Vikings defense held.
In the last few minutes, Jill Carr, Lauren Kickham and Trish Derwart made potentially goal-saving plays. Line defenders Ju Kim and Rebecca Ferrell, took some of the five charges Towson was called for during the game.
"[Towson] came in averaging 15 goals a game, so to hold them to seven is quite an accomplishment for our defense," said Mount Hebron coach Chris Robinson.
The Vikings ended with 11 straight wins after starting 4-3. They were 0-2 after losing to No. 4 Bryn Mawr and No. 1 Roland Park.
"To finish the way we did -- we're twice as good a team now as we were in the beginning of the year," said Robinson.
Pub Date: 5/20/98