Seconds after the buzzer sounded to end Hereford's 2-1 victory over host Dulaney Friday afternoon, Bulls' players Genevieve Ott and Kendra Herbenar rushed onto the field to hug goalie Jessie Lynch.
The contest wasn't a championship game, but it sure seemed like it to the Bulls.
The fierce rivals have met in the last four county title games with Hereford winning every time.
The Bulls (10-0) and Lions (7-4) are expected to meet again for the county crown on Oct. 18 at Lansdowne High.
"This rivalry is huge," Hereford coach Tammy Mundie said. "It's the proxcimity of the schools and the kids all know each other."
Shannon Martello and Maddie Hoover scored for Hereford Friday while Suzy Banister had the goal for the Lions.
Dulaney scored on its first shot nearly seven minutes into the game as Banister found the back of the goal on a feed from Maddie Manzoni.
It was only the second time all season an opponent scored first on Hereford.
"We were definately a little slow to start," Mundie said. "It was maybe because Dulaney came out really, really strong. We had to work today. Let's say that."
Hereford soon picked up its play and tied it 1-1 on a penalty corner. Martello started the play by finding Caitlin Abbott near the 16-yard circle.
Abbott the knocked the ball back to Martello, who goalie Angela George (5 saves) with 19:05 remaining.
Hoover notched the game-winner about nine minutes into the second half, redirecting Mary Claire Abbott's pass after the senior stick handled around two Dulaney defenders.
The Lions pushed for equalizer down the stretch, but Hereford's defense shined as both Herbenar and Abbott blocked shots.
"Today, we finally saw our full potential," Dulaney coach Kendra Zeller said. "The past two games, we were hesitent as a team. We saw them with fire and intensity."
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