Entering the season, Mount Hebron boys soccer coach Michael Linsenmeyer knew he needed to find a scoring threat if his Vikings were to return to the 3A East Region final.
Senior forward Sevi Sinanian scored twice in the second half to fill the role yesterday, but even a 2-0 win at home against Linganore in the season opener for both teams wasn't enough to convince Linsenmeyer that his problem is solved.
"This game was pretty terrible," Linsenmeyer said. "I thought our defense played well, but the rest of the team was pretty terrible. We looked out of shape. We were taking slow shots right at the keeper. We kept fighting, but we just didn't play well."
Indeed, Sinanian's contributions after halftime were the lone bright spots for Mount Hebron's offense. The senior forward broke a scoreless tie with a goal in the 43rd minute, getting behind the Linganore defense and breaking in one-on-one against goalkeeper Garrett Shipley (nine saves). Sinanian's first shot went straight at Shipley, but he gathered the rebound and fired into the empty net before any Lancers could recover.
Eight minutes later against a drawn-up Linganore defense, Sinanian found himself one-on-one with Shipley again and made sure there wouldn't be a rebound. He corralled a throw-in from Joe Damiano, then turned upfield and slipped a low 15-yarder past Shipley's left side and into the net.
"The second one was the easy one for me," Sinanian said. "I've scored on balls like that many times."
Sinanian's outburst followed a first half during which the Vikings couldn't create many quality chances despite pushing forward from the start.
Linsenmeyer pleaded for his players to be active away from the ball and to support each other on offense, but runs were never made and crosses never met.
Playmaker Brian Swiech created the half's best chance when he chipped a volley into the box for Sinanian, who settled the ball and touched a short pass back to a crashing Jimmy Zabel. Zabel rifled a 12-yard shot to the far post, but Shipley lunged to his left to make a fingertip save.
The play typified the afternoon for Zabel, who finished with four quality shots but nothing to show for it.
For all the rust the Vikings displayed on offense, their defense looked strong. Damiano and back-line mates Rohan Nabar and Michael Stokes limited Linganore to counter-attacks and free kicks that rarely threatened the goal. Mount Hebron goalkeeper Chris Nemeh (six saves) didn't get his first touch until the 21st minute, and he was seriously tested just once.