Defending county field hockey champion Mount Hebron normally plays a challenging non-league schedule, and this season has been no exception.
But despite being a young team that starts four sophomores, the Vikings have fared well so far.
"It's starting to come together," said Mount Hebron coach Jeannette Ireland. "We're learning a lot. It [tough schedule] is what I want to do."
The Vikings opened with the Garrison Forest tournament, in which they lost to No. 11-ranked Dulaney, 2-1, but defeated Seton Keough, 2-0.
"We do make mistakes because we're young, and that's what hurt us against Dulaney," Ireland said. "We were inexperienced on clearing on defense. But we almost pulled that game out at the end."
Against No. 10 Bryn Mawr, the Vikings were at their best despite losing, 2-1.
"I'm pleased with the way we played that game," said Ireland. "Things clicked for us. It was beautiful."
After a 10-0 win over Oakland Mills last Friday, the Vikings tied No. 7 St. Paul's Monday, 0-0.
"We didn't play as well against St. Paul's as we did against Bryn Mawr," Ireland said. "That's the only game we didn't score."
The four starting sophomores include forward Sarah Cates, forward Lauren Sterner, midfielder Alex Mengel and defender Pia Capra. The team also has a fifth sophomore, Kate Smith, who does not start.
Lights on hold
Coordinator of athletics Don Disney gave a staff report on the feasibility of installing lights at whatever county high schools might desire them during last Thursday's school board meeting.
A large crowd was on hand to hear the presentation, but the board asked Disney to provide more information on several points, and he is in the process of doing that.
He hopes to get back on the board's agenda as soon as possible, though it could take months.
Relief for Bears
Hammond's football team didn't win a league game last season, going 0-8, but put that memory behind it last Saturday by defeating Centennial, 40-7.
The Bears are 1-1 after losing their opener to River Hill.
Although starting running back Kofi Bey-Hodges is still recovering from a broken collarbone and is not expected back until Sept. 26, the Bears' running game erupted for 420 yards against Centennial, led by sophomore B.J. Smart (204 yards) and junior Rommel Chambers (128 yards). They ran from a wishbone and a power I.
"We had another 130 yards and two TDs taken away by penalties," said coach Bill Smith. Hammond had not beaten Centennial in three years.
Also contributing was linebacker Kris Townsell with two interceptions and linebacker Brandon Flores with 11 tackles, including five solo tackles.
"We went to a zone defense in the second half and that led to three interceptions," Smith said. "We're better than we've been in a while, and you can't sneeze at Saturday's results. The kids responded and we'll get better."
Big half not enough
Centennial's field hockey team played a stunning first half Tuesday against Glenelg, the heavy favorite to win the county title this season.
The Eagles led 1-0 until late in the half before Glenelg tied it. The Gladiators then erupted for five goals in the second half to win, 6-1.
"We spent all we had in that first half," said Centennial coach Gail Purcell. "They were in better shape. We didn't pace ourselves because we're a young team.
"Glenelg played a great game, moving to the ball and supporting well. We didn't mark well in the circle, and when our attack had the ball, it didn't generate plays to allow the defense to rest."
Wilde Lake ready
Wilde Lake girls soccer coach Dave Procida had a simple question for his team before Monday's game with Howard.
"I told the girls that it had been one month and one day," Procida said. "Are you ready [to play]?"
The answer was yes.
Wilde Lake had endured several rainouts before finally playing its season opener against Howard and rolling to a 9-2 victory.
Junior Addie Hobart had two goals and an assist and senior Ali McDonough added two goals. Junior Claire McDuff had a goal and two assists, and classmate Ali Solanche played strong defense.
"I liked what I saw," Procida said. "We attacked very well. I saw it all on the attacking side."
Procida said the lack of games made it occasionally difficult for his team to focus in practice.
Now the Wildecats are back playing the waiting game. In addition to this weekend, they are set for games Monday at Churchill and Tuesday at Long Reach.
They'll probably be ready and waiting for those games, too.
Mount Hebron winces
Mount Hebron's young volleyball team has played well in the first part of this season, but suffered a blow last week when it lost freshman starter Anna Wiggs.
Wiggs suffered ligament damage to her thumb, and doctors have said she'll be out for about eight weeks. Mount Hebron coach Michael Moynihan said there's a chance she could return for postseason play, but no one is certain.
The fifth-ranked Vikings played hard in Monday's three-game loss at No. 1 Glenelg, getting big efforts from Alex McClammer, Cristina Forte, Stacey Carroll and others while giving the Gladiators fits. McClammer played especially well, making numerous big plays at the net.
Jeff Seidel contributed to this article.