Mount Hebron's Lauren Kickham, a two-time All-Metro first-team selection and last year's Howard County Player of the Year, will attend Duke next year on a lacrosse scholarship.
Kickham, whose sister, Julie, is a senior at North Carolina, was a key reason the Vikings went 20-0 last year and earned their third straight state title. She finished the season with 55 goals and 31 assists, and had four goals and an assist in the state Class 1A-2A championship against Towson.
Kickham will join former Mount Hebron goalie Kristen Foster at Duke, which finished 13-5 overall (1-2 ACC) last season and was ranked No. 4 nationally. Foster played in eight games, starting two, as a freshman last season.
A 5-foot-11 center midfielder, Kickham said the fact that Foster attends Duke "wasn't a deciding factor, but I'm excited to be going to school with her."
By not selecting North Carolina, Kickham will get a chance to make a name for herself.
"I wanted to go out on my own," she said.
Kickham said Julie was "happy I found some place I wanted to go. Wherever I felt I was going to be the most happy, she's all for."
Kickham, who is thinking about majoring in engineering, selected Duke over Princeton, Virginia and North Carolina.
"I thought it was the best fit for me," said Kickham, selected two years in a row as a Chesapeake Regional All-American by the United States Women's Lacrosse Association. "Everything there seemed right. I loved it."
Kickham said there is no guarantee how much playing time she'll have as a freshman, but added that "they're looking forward to me contributing next year."
Kickham initiated much of the Vikings' offense last season by controlling the draw. She also broke her own single-season school record (131) for ground balls with 141.
Kickham, who will make her selection official during the early signing period next month, said picking a college was not easy.
"It was really hard for me to decide," she said. "I'm glad I can focus on other things."
Kickham said she would try and narrow her choice to two, "then I would stick another one in there. It was never just two."
Kickham is the second Mount Hebron girls lacrosse player to declare. Goalie Katelyn Hoffman, a first-team all-county and second-team All-Metro selection, will attend North Carolina on a scholarship.
Vikings win division
Mount Hebron's volleyball team clinched its division Tuesday night with a 15-2, 15-7, 9-15, 15-9 victoryover Long Reach. The Vikings, who are in the same division with Glenelg, Atholton, Howard and Long Reach, have a 7-0 record. Their remaining regular-season match is tomorrow at second-place Atholton, which is 4-2 against division rivals.
The sixth-ranked Vikings, who are 11-2 overall and 10-2 in the county, will play the winner of the other division (Centennial, Hammond, Oakland Mills, River Hill, Wilde Lake) for the county championship next Wednesday.
Top-ranked Centennial and No. 2 River Hill have split during the season and, with one county game remaining, likely will end the season tied for first. River Hill would advance to the county championship -- to be held at a yet undetermined neutral site -- because it won five of eight games played between the two teams.
Mount Hebron, which lost to River Hill in three games and Centennial in four early in the season, has improved in a number of ways, according to first-year coach Betty Golibart.
"The defense has definitely improved," said Golibart. "We're a little more cohesive, and certainly playing together in season adds to that. The kids know me a little more and I've gotten to know them a little better, and with that comes some trust.
"I think we're blocking a little better, and we're a little more willing to be flexible with the lineups," Golibart added. "My philosophy is to have kids who are able to play in different lineups, and right now we can put in eight or nine players and they'll play well together."
Senior co-captain Jacque Armstead, a 5-foot-6 setter/right side hitter, runs the offense. "She's the cornerstone of the team," said Golibart. "She has such a rapport on the court. The players really trust her."
Golibart said senior Stephanie Mathe "has worked a lot to improve her skills" and has become a starter. Kim Burgess is hitting the ball well and has improved her serve, according to Golibart, and Julie Kurtzman has become a more consistent front-line player. Lauren Abremski has helped key the back as a defensive specialist.
"It's my first season, and it's been challenging and rewarding," Golibart said. "I appreciate the opportunity to coach these kids. They're a good group of kids. It's been a real nice time."