Mount Hebron showed why it is ranked No. 4. The Vikings gave top-ranked Centennial its toughest game of the season yesterday in the Class 3A East Region quarterfinal.
The Vikings pressured the Eagles into several defensive breakdowns, but were unable to stop Centennial's high-powered offense and lost, 5-3.
Centennial (13-0), ranked No. 4 in the country by USA Today, had allowed only three goals (the starting team had allowed just one) and had 10 shutouts, including six straight, going into the game. The Eagles have won 27 straight games.
"We made some mistakes in the box and they capitalized," Centennial coach Bill Stara said.
Centennial's offense was as strong as ever, especially Brian West, Matt Laycock and Cory Piette.
West (13 goals, 15 assists) scored twice and had an assist.
The first one gave the Eagles a 3-1 lead and came in the 38th minute. Laycock's pass took a high bounce toward West who was waiting on the right side. West volleyed the waist-high ball forcefully inside the far post.
West also scored Centennial's fifth goal. While running at full speed he one-touched a cross from Laycock from 22 yards out. The ball took off like a rocket and bent into the net leaving goalkeeper Tom Wunk no chance to stop it.
"West's goals were incredible," said Pat Halter, who scored two goals for Mount Hebron. "It's too bad we had to play them in the first round, but we were fired up and we should have earned some respect today. I think we shocked them when we scored our first goal. That was a turning point for us."
Mike Stromberg scored that goal on a header off a throw-in by Tim Deppen in the 21st minute. It made the score, 2-1.
Stromberg also had assists on Halter's goals in the 64th and 77th minutes. Halter scored on a header off a throw-in and off an indirect kick.
Piette (eight goals, seven assists) had a goal and an assist for Centennial. His left-footed shot off an assist from West in the 55th minute made it 4-1.
Piette had assisted Matt Stephenson (10 goals, seven assists) on the game's first goal in the fourth minute. Stephenson scored on a header off Piette's cross.
"Defensively we broke down a couple of times by not going to the ball in the box," Piette said.
Laycock, (10 goals, five assists) scored the game's second goal and had two assists.
The Vikings (8-4-1) had their finest season ever, finishing second in the county at 6-1. The only team they lost to in the Baltimore area was Centennial.
Mount Hebron coach Scott Conroy said: "We would have liked better results but left everything on the field and have nothing to be ashamed of."