Mount Hebron's David Lechtrecker allowed his temper to hamper his play during his early high school soccer career. If a referee made a bad call or an opponent took a cheap shot, he'd explode in anger.
Now he has tempered that temper. And the results speak for themselves.
The senior striker, playing his fourth varsity season, leads the county in scoring with 14 goals and six assists, and obviously is a prime reason the defending county-champion Vikings are 8-2 and ranked fourth in The Sun's poll.
"I have a much better attitude toward things," Lechtrecker said. "My old attitude disrupted my focus and hurt my play. Now if something happens, I just forget about it."
Forgetting about Lechtrecker is something opponents can't afford to do.
The 6-foot-1, 165-pound third-year starter is aggressive, can outrun most people and is strong with his feet, especially with his dominant left foot.
He scored both goals in a 2-1 victory over Centennial Oct. 8, the Vikings' first win ever against the Eagles.
Against Westminster and Linganore he produced hat tricks, scoring three of his team's first four goals in the pair of lopsided wins.
"I told him he couldn't shoot anymore against Westminster," Vikings coach Jeff Doolan said. "I made him play defense. He's come a long way. He's much more level-headed and has taken on a leadership role as team captain. He talks to the team well."
Lechtrecker, who scored nine goals last season, scored a goal or assist in every game until last Tuesday's 2-0 loss to Oakland Mills, a game in which he ripped off some hard shots that Scorpions goalkeeper Chris Ebeling managed to stop.
Lechtrecker knows Ebeling and several other Oakland Mills players well. He's played on the same Chelsea club team with them for nine years.
"When he [Ebeling] is on, he's incredible. It was kind of weird playing against them after playing with them all my life," Lechtrecker said.
He also knows Oakland Mills coach Don Shea well because Shea coaches Chelsea.
"He's a very intense, dangerous striker to play against," Shea said. "He's strong on the ball. He takes half an opportunity and turns it into a full-blown scoring threat."
Lechtrecker's stepfather, Gene Bracken, said: "David is a full-tilt, competitive kid who owes everything he knows about soccer to Shea -- and a lot about life, too."
Lechtrecker thinks that training with those Oakland Mills players last summer triggered his fast start.
"I came in much more prepared this season."
His club team has mostly under-17-aged players, but played at the under-19 level last season, and that more intense competition also helped to raise his game a notch.
At a prestigious under-19 tournament in Boston last August, the team finished second, losing the championship in a shootout.
And at the Columbia Memorial Day Tournament, Chelsea tied the team that eventually finished as national runner-up.
Pub Date: 10/17/99