Mount Hebron's girls lacrosse team fulfilled the inevitable Friday, as the unbeaten Vikings clinched their fourth county title in five years with a 19-6 blowout of visiting Atholton.
Hebron, which has crushed each of its six county opponents with an offense that coach P.J. Kesmodel calls his best ever, stayed true to form by delivering an early knockout to the Raiders.
The Vikings (6-0 county, 13-0 overall) scored at will throughout the first half and took a 12-1 halftime lead. Hebron outshot Atholton in the first half, 26-4. As he has done against every county opponent, Kesmodel substituted heavily for most of the second half.
"We are so much stronger offensively than any of my other teams, it's not even close," Kesmodel said. "We've got five kids with Division I potential who can score against anybody, any time. This team can really light it up.
Hebron's five top scorers shared the spotlight against Atholton (7-5), which suffered its third straight loss after winning seven of its first 10 games.
Sophomore Cathy Nelson led the way with six goals and one assist, including five goals in the first half. Seniors Andrea Cuzmanes and Megan Drake each had four goals and one assist. Junior Lori Pasquantonio had three goals and two assists. Junior Amy Fine had two goals and an assist.
Hebron winds up its regular season at Oakland Mills on Tuesday, then sets its sights on an elusive prize -- a state title. The regional playoffs begin Friday at Hebron, where the top-seeded Vikings will begin a route that figures to take them through nemesis Loch Raven, the defending state champion from Baltimore County.
Loch Raven, which has not lost a game in nearly five years, beat the Vikings in the state semifinals last year. Hebron has never won a state championship.
"I think we're going to win it [the state title]," Nelson said. "I think this is the best team we've ever had. We have a better midfield and more speed than last year, and we don't have one huge scorer. Everyone scores."
With the exception of two, non-league victories -- 11-10 over St. Mary's and 14-8 over Conestoga (Pa.) -- no one has threatened Hebron. The Vikings have won every other game by at least seven goals, and have beaten each county opponent by an average of 11.
In 13 games, the Vikings have outscored their opponents, 220-94. They've outscored the league by a 110-45 margin, averaging more than 18 goals against the county.
Drake, who is headed to Towson State University on a lacrosse scholarship, has been the spark all year. She has 57 goals, and should break Erin Quinn's single-season (1990) school record of 65 this week. Cuzmanes, who is headed to William & Mary on a lacrosse scholarship, has controlled the middle of the field superbly again this year. She has 20 goals and 16 assists.
Pasquantonio (38 goals, 27 assists) has been another weapon. Nelson (36 goals, 20 assists) and Fine (27 goals, 14 assists) have given defenses two more headaches. Hebron's defense is led by junior Tierney Clark and goalies Beth Streagle and Ali True, who have split time effectively in the net all season.
"Our defense is playing real well, but offensively, we're in a whole different world [compared to the rest of the county]," Kesmodel said. "We're shooting around the goal all the time, and we shoot for spots. The most impressive thing about us is if we get the ball enough, we're going to score."