With his teams having won four of the last six Howard County lacrosse titles with a 31-4 county record, Mount Hebron coach Warren Michael prefers solid execution on the field to sloppy victories.
After yesterday's 9-2 win over visiting Hammond (2-2, 0-1) in the county opener, Michael was thankful much of the regular season remains for the Vikings (3-1, 1-0) to improve.
"We didn't play well in the first quarter. Fortunately, we didn't lose our composure and we were able to regroup by the second period and get some offense going," Michael said.
Mount Hebron's defense clamped down on Hammond's top-scorer Mike Sargent (11 goals).
"We did a good defensive job shutting down Sargent, who is their top gun," Michael said.
"What we didn't do well was show our overall lacrosse knowledge while playing. We can't be fouling when the referees are calling the game tight. We need to start recognizing situations."
The Vikings' offense sputtered until senior attack Sam Horstman broke the 0-0 deadlock with seven seconds left in the first period.
Sargent, a senior, scored his only goal of the game at 6:42 of the second period to tie it at 1.
Horstman answered with two goals on two shots within a minute to give him an early hat trick and Mount Hebron a 3-1 halftime lead.
"I was just able to cut free to the middle, get some feeds for HTC some great shots," said Horstman. He made three of his four first-half shots and now leads the Vikings with 17 points.
Mount Hebron junior midfielder Scott Baughman opened the third-period scoring by connecting on his seventh shot, beating Hammond sophomore goalie Brian Lea (13 saves) for a 4-1 Vikings advantage.
Four minutes later, Viking junior attack Dan Carver took a feed from Baughman and blistered a shot by Lea to push the lead to 5-1 at the end of three periods.
"Our style of play is that we're willing to play defense first, so that means fewer possessions offensively and a need not to fall far behind," said Hammond first-year coach Larry Luthe.
"Athletic-wise, we are as good as Mount Hebron. Fundamentally we just aren't in their league yet."
Two Mount Hebron unassisted goals in the fourth period, by Baughman and junior attack Chris McShane, ran the Vikings scoring string to six unanswered goals.
The run grew to seven when Horstman notched his fourth goal of the game as the lead climbed to 8-1 with 6:31 left in the contest.
Junior attack Eric Seward broke the Golden Bears' 20-minute scoring drought by taking a pass from Sargent to beat Viking senior goalie Sean Buchanan (eight saves).
Baughman finished off the Vikings' scoring with his third goal with 4:16 left in the game.
"I thought we did a nice defensive job," said Luthe. "With a 9-2 score, we should've been playing for a win, but our transition game of going from defense to offense just wasn't executed very well. We shot horrible and that's the game in a nutshell."