30-0 Win Raises Issues Of Fairness, Competition

Hebron's Obvious Power Provides Coaching Dilemma

April 20, 1997|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

It was just another high school girls lacrosse score on a page full of agate.

It wasn't in bigger or bold type, but it clearly stood out.


Makes you think, doesn't it?

How could it happen?

Why did it happen?

"I think it's a little embarrassing that one Howard County school does that to another Howard County school," said Wilde Lake coach Tammy Goldeisen.

Goldeisen's team had the goose egg. She said her kids were "a little bitter" after the game last Tuesday, but overall "handled it well. It's just unfortunate."

The culprit?

Third-ranked Mount Hebron (7-1), winners of eight of nine county championships.

Goldeisen, whose team started the JV goalie because varsity regular Amanda Berman was injured, thinks the Vikings ran up the score.

There is, of course, the other side.

In its 28-1 win over Howard to open the league season and the shutout against Wilde Lake, Mount Hebron's starters did not play the last 22 minutes. And Vikings coach Chris Robinson had his second-string offensive and defensive players switch assignments.

But did he tell his second unit to take it easy?

Not a chance.

"In our program, we teach our kids from the moment they step on the field as JV players through their senior year to play hard all the time and give 100 percent," said Robinson, in his second year as head coach after serving two years as JV head coach and two years as assistant varsity head coach. "Our practices are intense and they go through a rigorous training and weightlifting program. All these kids work really hard.

"When it's their opportunity to go on the field, I'm not going to tell them to role over and die. I'm going to tell them to play as hard as the starting team did and I expect nothing less of them. I try to treat the No. 1 player and the No. 25 players exactly the same when they go out on the field."

But when is enough enough?

"I do ask my assistant coaches what we can do to hold this up [the score] without losing our intensity, but there's never an easy answer," said Robinson. "Our program is built on intense practices, intense conditioning, everything is very intense and competitive. And to get in a game and say, `No, don't do that' or `Let them have it' totally defeats the purpose of why we are there. I will never sacrifice our intensity because the opponent is not able to hang with us."

While Mount Hebron scored 13 second-half goals against Wilde Lake, it scored only five in Friday's 20-1 win over first-year River Hill.

Robinson said his team didn't back off and that he used the same substitution pattern he did against Howard and Wilde Lake. Eighteen players saw first-half action. The starters played the first three minutes of the second half before the first six subs and the seven others combined to finish the game.

"River Hill made some nice defensive adjustments at halftime," Robinson said. "They did some nice things to stop our second string."

Said River Hill coach Becky Albert: "I was extremely happy with our defense. I feel Hebron had to work for those 20 goals. My kids were thrilled at the end."

Mount Hebron is rich in tradition -- four state titles -- and talent. "Our second-string players probably would start on most county teams and be among their better players," Robinson said. "That makes it difficult to keep the score down because I'm not going to tell my players to quit. I will never do that."

He will, however, bench them, as he did one second-stringer against Howard for doing a "touchdown dance" after her first goal. "She did that and the whole bench started laughing," Robinson said. "It was poor. I won't accept that as a coach."

Centennial, which has outscored its first four opponents, 86-18, will be Mount Hebron's toughest county challenge this season. Both teams should be undefeated when they meet May 5 in the regular-season finale. Wednesday, the Vikings meet Hammond -- which beat Wilde Lake, 14-5, this past Thursday -- and winless Long Reach on Friday. On Saturday, the Vikings play No. 1 Notre Dame Prep at Johns Hopkins University's Homewood Field.

Mount Hebron senior midfield Chrissy Lombard said she "felt bad" for Howard and Wilde Lake, but added "you could tell they gave up" at the end. "It's not like we don't have any compassion for them."

The bottom line is that there is no easy solution.

"It's a double-edged sword, there's no doubt about it," said Robinson, whose team has outscored its first four county opponents, 93-7. "If we play well and run our system the way it's designed to we're going to get criticized for high scores. If we let up and change our system, I think it would be a disservice to our kids."

Pub Date: 4/20/97

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