After 103 Straight Victories, Mighty Mount Hebron Falls
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.”