Each year since high school girls lacrosse was introduced in Howard County, Mount Hebron has distinguished itself as a county champion ora contender. And each year, Vikings coach P. J. Kesmodel has ducked the accolades that come to those who run first-class programs.
This year the Vikings -- after conceding the county championship to Centennial last season -- regained the title with a devastating, 7-0 record against the league.
Going unbeaten against the county is nothing new for Hebron. The Vikings turned the trick in 1988 and 1989. But this year, by averaging 19.7 goals while surrendering an average of 7.7 per game against the league, the Vikings won with more ease than ever.
"This is the first time since we've had girls lacrosse that we were clearly better than anyone else," said Kesmodel, the Howard County Sun's Coach of the Year.
"We win because our kids work harder than anyone else. I'mno great coach," added Kesmodel, who has a 27-1 record against the county in four years. "We're in another league in terms of commitment to the sport, and it's paying off on the field. We've got over 40 kids playing summer league ball. There's no secret to why we win."
Talent aside, Hebron also continue to play above the county because of the rough, non-league schedule Kesmodel eagerly pursues each spring.
This season, Hebron -- which Kesmodel thought was a year away frombeing a dominate team -- tuned up for the county schedule by beatingSevern and St. Mary's. They were ranked in the top 10 in the state at the time. The Vikings then lost to John Carroll and Seton Keough, two more top 10 teams, before blitzing the county. Hebron eventually lost to four-time state champion Loch Raven in the Class 1A/2A semifinals.
The Vikings finished with an overall 11-3 record, outscoring their opponents, 235-120. Four players -- Suzanne DeHaan, Megan Drake, Lori Pasquantonio and Andrea Cuzmanes -- scored 153 goals.
Hebron's county games were typically characterized by a lopsided, early Vikings lead, followed by busy substituting by Kesmodel. The closest margins of victory were 17-10 (Centennial), 16-12 (Wilde Lake) and 14-9(Glenelg). Only Glenelg kept the game respectable from start to finish.
Hebron proved its superiority most against Oakland Mills. The Scorpions went 6-1 to finish second in the league, but were blown out, 23-9, by the Vikings.
"It's not going to get better next year for anyone else," said Kesmodel.
He is losing only two starters to graduation.