Mount Hebron draws Va. power to tournament


Mount Hebron's girls lacrosse team has always prided itself on challenging the best programs not only in the Baltimore area, but also in the country.

Judging by next year's potential schedule, the seven-time defending state-champion Vikings may have outdone themselves.

Mount Hebron has received a commitment from national power St. Stephen's/St. Agnes of Virginia to take part in the Ellicott City school's ninth annual Spring Lacrosse Tournament on April 23.

Vikings coach Brooke Kuhl-McClelland said invitations also have been sent to national power in Moorestown of New Jersey and reigning Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference champion St. Paul's.

St. Stephen's/St. Agnes and Moorestown are generally considered among the country's top three high school programs.

St. Paul's, ranked No. 1 by The Sun, wrapped up a 16-1-1 season in a league with five teams ranked in the top 15.

"We have not made a determination on what we're doing next year yet," said St. Paul's coach Jim Stromberg, adding that the IAAM schedule has not yet been formalized. "We're going to look at all of our options."

The coup, however, was landing St. Stephen's/St. Agnes, a team from Alexandria, Va., that has collected 16 Independent School League championships.

The Saints, ranked No. 2 in The Washington Post, were the last team to defeat Mount Hebron - a 10-9 decision on May 9, 2001.

"I'm not afraid to lose, and I'm not afraid to give up our streak," said Kuhl-McClelland, whose team owns a 58-game winning streak. "That's not what we're about. We want to play some of the best teams."

Kuhl-McClelland acknowledged that part of the motivation behind scheduling St. Stephen's/St. Agnes and issuing invitations to Moorestown and St. Paul's was to silence those who have criticized the Vikings for canceling a game against then-No. 1 Notre Dame Prep on March 26.

On the day of the game, a wave of illness spread through the school, and about 200 students - seven of whom were on the lacrosse team - missed school or were sent home early.

Kuhl-McClelland said she hopes inviting such teams as St. Stephen's/St. Agnes, Moorestown and St. Paul's will silence the critics.

"There are a lot of naysayers saying that we don't want to play anyone, and that's the furthest thing from the truth," she said.

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