Af­ter 103 Straight Vic­to­ries, Mighty Mount He­bron Falls

The Washington Post Sunday - - Sports - By Eli Saslow

For the most part, it looked like any other Mount He­bron girls’ lacrosse game: three goals in the first two min­utes, an over­pow­er­ing of­fense, a re­sult so de­ci­sive it ap­peared al­most pre­des­tined. Ex­cept this time, it was Mount He­bron’s play­ers who stood, shocked, on the los­ing side.

Mount He­bron lost for the first time in nearly six years yes­ter­day, fall­ing 14-6 at home against West Ge­ne­see of Camil­lus, N.Y. The de­feat ended the Vik­ings’ 103-game win­ning streak, con­sid­ered the long­est in high school girls’ lacrosse his­tory. Af­ter­ward, Mount He­bron’s play­ers sat in the grass on their home field and looked at the score­board. Some cried. Some talked, ea­gerly, about start­ing a new streak.

Since it last loss on May 10, 2001, to St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes, Mount He­bron has de­vel­oped into the most dom­i­nant sports pro­gram in the Wash­ing­ton area. The Vik­ings have won 10 con­sec­u­tive Mary­land 3A/2A state ti­tles. They have sent dozens of play­ers to Di­vi­sion I col­leges. But it was the team’s record win streak — some­times ex­hil­a­rat­ing, some­times stress­ful — that had come to de­fine Mount He­bron.

“No­body has done what we’ve done, and we can all be proud of that,” said Mount He­bron Coach Brooke Kuhl-McClel­land, who lost for the first time in 100 games as a head coach. “There was no shame in this loss. They’re just the bet­ter team. I told the kids: ‘You got beat, but it’s just a game. It’s just one game.’ ”

West Ge­ne­see (6-0) dom­i­nated by mir­ror­ing the Vik­ings’ style, which the New York coaches had stud­ied on film the past few sea­sons. The Wild­cats con­trolled pos­ses­sion by win­ning most draws, and they out­raced Mount He­bron (6-1) to ground balls. West Ge­ne­see made 70 per­cent of its shots on goal.

The Wild­cats led, 6-2, at half­time, but they all but fin­ished Mount He­bron in the first few min­utes of the sec­ond half. Se­nior mid­fielder Colleen Bub­nack scored two goals in the first five min­utes, and West Ge­ne­see cruised to a 12-3 lead. With 10 min­utes left, Mount He­bron be­gan its most typ­i­cal sec­ond-half rou­tine for the most atyp­i­cal rea­son: Kuh­lMcClel­land started pulling her starters and in­sert­ing re­serves into a lop­sided game.

“They play a style that’s very, very sim­i­lar to us, so get­ting ready for them wasn’t as hard as it could have been,” West Ge­ne­see Coach Bob Elmer said. “We knew we didn’t nec­es­sar­ily have to do any­thing spe­cial. We were good enough to beat them at their own game.”

Said Mount He­bron de­fender Bria Eulitt: “We knew they were good and we knew they’d be fired up. Now we have to shake it off.”

That process be­gan as soon as the game ended. About 100 Mount He­bron fans and par­ents waved ban­ners in the bleach­ers, cel­e­brat­ing the du­ra­tion of the streak. Kuh­lMcClel­land told her play­ers to with­hold emo­tion un­til af­ter their postgame hand­shakes. Then the coach gave out two game balls.

“We still have enough time left in this sea­son to re­bound from this,” Kuhl-McClel­land told them.

When the head coach fin­ished talk­ing, her as­sis­tant coach — and her hus­band — stepped in front of the team. Tommy McClel­land asked ev­ery player to stand up. Then he told them to rub their own backs.

“You feel that?” McClel­land said. “Noth­ing’s on your back now. The mon­key’s gone. We’re go­ing to move on and be fine. It’s go­ing to be okay. Just breathe.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.