Of all the weapons and firepower that Mount Hebron possesses, the Vikings had to rely on another quality in yesterday's Class 2A state semifinal: patience.
With Hereford playing a defensive game, coach Jeff Doolan had to tell his team to be calm, and the shots would fall. And fall they did, giving the fifth-ranked Vikings (15-3) a 3-0 win over Hereford (9-8) and a berth in next weekend's Class 2A state championship at UMBC.
Senior forward Dave Lechtrecker scored two goals to lead the Vikings. Sophomore Mike Glancey had the other.
The Vikings will play for the state title next weekend against J.M. Bennett, which defeated Middletown on penalty kicks last night, 14-13, after finishing regulation tied, 2-2.
"We've been working toward this since the first day of practice," said Lechtrecker. "They packed [the defense in] in the back third, but that left the midfield open. Eventually, we took advantage of the opportunities they gave us."
The Vikings took the lead in the 31st minute, when Lechtrecker took a deflection and headed it past goalie Wayne Hardesty for a 1-0 lead. In the second half, Matt Guy found a wide-open Mike Glancey by the left post, and Glancey's header increased the lead to 2-0 with 59 minutes gone.
Lechtrecker took a deflection off the goal post, and his header closed the scoring in the 78th minute.
Hereford's best chance came in the 68th minute when forward Blake Gunther's shot was handled by a diving Greg Peters.
Doolan credited the Vikings' schedule for preparing them for their run at the title.
"It's a big advantage for us to play in [the Howard County] league," he said. "At one time this year, six teams in our league were ranked in the top 10 by The Sun. This is where it really helps us a lot to play the competition we do."
Doolan cited the play of Lechtrecker, Mount Hebron's leading scorer with 24 goals and eight assists entering the game, as a major factor in his team's success.
"He's a phenomenal player," Dolan said. "He was starting to get frustrated because we weren't able to put the ball on his foot early in the game. He's one of the best pure goal scorers I've ever seen."
For the Bulls, the loss ended an impressive playoff run.
"We were happy to get this far," said Hereford coach Glenn Quinn. "We have a young team, and this was a good learning experience for them. We'll be back next year, count on it."