Mt. Hebron's Ireland finally gets to states as coach, not spectator 7-year playoff skid over, Vikings get Towson next

State playoff outlook

November 02, 1997|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

For the past seven years, Mount Hebron field hockey coach Jeannette Ireland has attended the state tournament at Goucher College as a spectator.

She'll be there tomorrow, too, for the state semifinals, but under different circumstances.

This time, she's going to coach.

"It's very different to go back as a coach," said Ireland, whose 14th-ranked Vikings (13-1-1) will play Towson (9-5-1) at 12: 30 p.m. in a Class 2A semifinal contest. "It's great to be going with your team. This is what you work for."

The Vikings, who hadn't won a playoff game in Ireland's seven previous years, advanced to the state tournament Thursday with a 1-0 victory over Long Reach in the South Region final. Towson won the North Region, defeating Loch Raven, 2-0, a team it had lost to 3-1 in the second game of the season.

Towson opened the season with four straight losses (Hereford, 3-2, in overtime, Loch Raven, Friends, 3-0, and Bryn Mawr, 3-2), then tied Notre Dame Prep, 1-1, in a game that coach Holly West said turned the season around.

The Generals have gone 9-1-1 since then, losing only to St. Paul's. Four of Towson's losses were to teams ranked at that time in the top 10 of The Sun poll.

"We took some licks early," West said, "but playing those games has helped us. It's paying off for us now. I'm really glad we played those teams."

Towson is led by left wing Amy Stringer (11 goals, two assists), center midfielder Lindsay Buchanan (eight goals, six assists) and sweeper Lauren Whaley.

"Lauren is the leader on defense," West said. "She's a stopper. I know I can count on her."

Mount Hebron, which last won a region title in 1982, dropped its season opener to McDonogh, 4-0. In going 13-0-1 since then, the Vikings have won eight games by one goal (including six 1-0 decisions). They have won their last five games by shutouts, outscoring their opponents, 15-0.

Ireland, said her team will have to play better against Towson than it did against the Lightning.

"We weren't really sharp," said Ireland, who credited Long Reach with an outstanding game.

Leading the attack for Mount Hebron is Sue Lee (seven goals, one assist), Emily Payne (six goals, three assists), Polly Purcell (five goals, five assists) and Katie Jeschke (five goals, four assists).

Mount Hebron has reached the state semifinals twice (1981 and 1982) and Towson three times (1979, 1991, 1995). Neither school has been a finalist.

Ireland has attended previous tournaments to support Howard County teams and to watch a sport she enjoys very much. And going to Goucher is a homecoming of sorts. Ireland was a three-sport star (field hockey, basketball, lacrosse) at Goucher before graduating in 1977.

Girls soccer

Six teams still are alive and will play Tuesday in region finals.

In the 1A/2A West Region, Atholton (3-12-1) plays at Glenelg (5-7-4) at 3 p.m. Glenelg and Atholton tied 2-2 in mid-October.

Howard High will play host to a doubleheader. At 5 p.m., Centennial (8-5-1) plays Oakland Mills (11-4-1) in the 1A/2A South final, and River Hill (13-2) takes on Wilde Lake (9-5-1) at 7 p.m. in the 2A/3A South championship.

Oakland Mills beat Centennial, 1-0, in late September, its first win over the Eagles since 1990. County champion River Hill crushed Wilde Lake, 7-0, in the league opener for both teams Sept. 24. The Wildecats got off to a shaky start, going 1-4. They are 8-1-1 since then, losing 3-2 to Centennial and tying Glenelg, 2-2.

TTC "Wilde Lake is playing very well right now," River Hill coach Cynthia Odell said. "We're going to have to be at our best to beat them."

Boys soccer

Howard High will play host to a doubleheader on Wednesday.

At 5 p.m., Hammond (10-4-1) will play the winner of tomorrow's Glenelg (8-6) at Poolesville game in the Class 1A South Region final. The Glenelg-Poolesville game was postponed yesterday.

Mount Hebron (9-4-1) will play River Hill (13-1) at 7 p.m. in the Class 2A South final.

Wilde Lake (10-2-2) will play at Northern of Calvert County in the Class 3A East Region final. The game is tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

Volleyball

Region quarterfinals will be played tomorrow. In Class 2A South Region play, Fairmont Heights is at Long Reach, River Hill plays host to Howard and Atholton is at Centennial.

Wilde Lake will play host to Patuxent in a Class 3A East Region match.

In Class 1A South Region action, Glenelg plays host to Oakland Mills and Hammond travels to Williamsport.

Pub Date: 11/02/97

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