Vikings go to goal, come away with Howard crown

Mount Hebron 2 Atholton 1

Boys soccer

October 25, 2006|By Glenn Graham | Glenn Graham,SUN REPORTER

The Mount Hebron boys soccer team isn't bashful about going hard to goal.

In yesterday's inaugural Howard County championship game against visiting Atholton, it was a necessity to earn the Vikings a 2-1 win.

After a scoreless first half, Mount Hebron freshman midfielder Aiden Hoolachan broke through 11 minutes into the second half and senior forward Justin Martinelli provided the game-winner midway through as the Raiders got a goal from Toshi Takahashi in the final minute.

Hoolachan was finally able to break through for the fourth-ranked Vikings with a goal in front off a corner kick that was headed in the middle by Matt Schmauder and kept alive with hard work from senior forward Mike Napolitano. Less than 10 minutes later, Martinelli found space on the left side, swiftly beat a defender to turn the corner and finished off a chance to the far post from a tough angle.

The Vikings improved to 11-0-4 and now enter the Class 3A South region playoffs with a visit from Howard County rival and defending state champ River Hill on Friday. The 10th-ranked Raiders fell to 9-3-1 and have a bye in the first round.

Hard work, persistence and a bit of creativity in close ultimately helped the Vikings get it done yesterday.

"This time of the year, none of the goals come easy so they have to go get the goals, nobody is going to give it to them," said Mount Hebron coach Mike Linsemeyer. "They know that, so if they want to win they have to go get it. It's that simple and today they wanted to win and got the goals that they needed -- there was a lot of hard work there."

The Raiders, who have played in plenty of close, low-scoring games this season, didn't make it easy for the Vikings.

Organized play in the back and steady play from senior goalie Sam Permutt kept the game scoreless in the first half before the Vikings continued to press and finally broke through.

Sophomore Garret Nickles sent a corner kick past the far post that was headed in front by Schmauder. Napolitano got to it just before Permutt to keep the ball free before Hoolachan put it away.

One quick step was all Martinelli needed to score the pivotal second goal.

"As a forward you can't do too many moves or someone will get you. So it was one move and just put the ball away," he said. "In high school that's what you have to do -- just go hard to each ball and things will go your way."

The Raiders got strong performances from defenders Jason Parfitt, Deshon Scott-Hopwood and midfielder Mike Pohler, with senior forward Jon Beltran hitting the post with a left-footed shot from 25 yards that came just after Martinelli made it 2-0.

Atholton coach Roch DeFrances was pleased with his team's effort and quick to applaud the Vikings' effort as well.

"[Mount Hebron is] just tough around the goal," he said. "They come at you hard -- a little bigger, a little stronger."

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

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