No. 10 Mount Hebron bumped in 3-0 semifinal loss to Easton Returning to tournament is milestone for Vikings

Class 2A field hockey

November 10, 1998|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Easton was the better team yesterday in its Class 2A state semifinal game against 10th-ranked Mount Hebron at Goucher College.

"They were clearly better," said Mount Hebron coach Jeannette Ireland, after her team's 3-0 loss. "They're a very good team."

But the Vikings (12-6) didn't come away totally empty-handed. For a team that had never won a playoff game in Ireland's first seven years, returning to the state tournament was an important achievement for the program.

"It's still disappointing to lose, because you're there to win and we expected to win," said Ireland, whose team lost to Bethesda-Chevy Chase in last year's Class 2A state final. "Our goal was to take it to the next step -- to get to the final game and win it.

"But to come back two years in a row is really exciting for our program. It took us so long to get there."

Said Mount Hebon junior Katie Jeschke: "I'm glad we came back. Some people might have thought last year was a fluke, and we wanted to show we deserved to be here. I definitely want to come back next year."

The Vikings will have a solid chance to do that. They have 10 juniors that will return, including top scorers Jeschke (16 goals), Polly Purcell (six goals, seven assists) and Lauren Wolkstein (six, three) and goalie Katelyn Hoffman. Five juniors will participate in the Euro-Tour next summer.

Mount Hebron struggled in its shootout victory over Long Reach in last Friday's South region final. The Vikings played better yesterday, but Easton (16-1) was quicker to the ball and had some very talented players.

"We rebounded [from the Long Reach game] and did a better job," said Ireland, "but we just didn't generate enough offense."

Said Jeschke: "They had support all over the field. It seemed that when we did get the ball they would take it away. They were hard to dodge and they had good stick skills."

Easton, which will play defending champion B-CC Saturday, took a 1-0 halftime lead on the first of two goals by Courtney Alfes.

An Easton shot that Mount Hebron players thought was undercut went high off Hoffman's shoulder, hit the post and rolled in front of the goal. Alfes was alone on the far post and tapped it in seven minutes into the game.

"I thought it was undercut. I was waiting for the call," said Ireland, who added that the referee ruled the ball hit off a defender's stick.

Mount Hebron, which took only three shots the entire game, generated some offense late in the half, but it was too little, too late.

"The half ended too soon," Ireland said. "We had changed our strategy and started attacking down the left side. We were just starting to get going."

But Easton, which lost to B-CC in last year's state semifinal, still controlled the second half. Alfes scored 4: 25 into the second half, thanks to a wonderful assist from Julie Phillips, and Amy Cross added the final goal 90 seconds later.

Pub Date: 11/10/98

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