With its offense generating plenty of shots but only one goal, No. 6 Archbishop Spalding turned to its leading scorer to snap a 1-1 tie in Friday's field hockey game against No. 5 Garrison Forest.
Forward Erin Shanahan came through in dramatic fashion, notching her 27th goal of the season just 39 seconds into overtime to lift the Cavaliers past the Grizzlies, 2-1, in an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference showdown.
The win clinches the No. 1 seed for Spalding (18-1) in the league's tournament, which starts Oct. 25.
The Cavaliers have never won an IAAM title at any level.
"It was just like a playoff game," Shanahan said of the matchup between the league's top two squads. "This win means we go into the pool, where we don't play [No. 7] McDonogh or Garrison [until the final]. That's what we were hoping for."
Shanahan used outstanding stick work on her game-winning goal to topple the three-time defending A Conference champs.
Moving along the baseline, the 5 foot 6 sophomore beat two defenders before getting the ball past goalie Ariyel Yavalar with a shot to the right corner.
"It seems like she can dribble through an entire team at times," Spalding coach Leslee Brady said. "And she's got a hard shot. Our corner defense doesn't even want to practice corners with her. She's being highly recruited by a lot of top-notch, Division I programs. She's also on the U.S. Field Hockey 16U National indoor team."
Another clutch performer, Spalding freshman forward Kyler Greenwalt, nailed the tying goal on a backhanded shot with 5:09 remaining in the second half.
Prior to that goal, the Cavaliers failed to connect on five penalty corners in the second half.
"We had tons of opportunities," Brady said. "It's not like it was 1-0 and we never got shots off or were in the circle. We got a lot of shots off. We just couldn't put it on the cage. A couple of them were wide. We just didn't have the post play there to tip it in."
Garrison junior forward Kara Frazier gave the Grizzlies a 1-0 lead early in the second half, scoring on a pass from Allie DiPietro.
Soon after that, the Grizzlies' defense of Meg Swindell, Brooks Farley, Megan Rossi and Julie Legar and Yavalar was under heavy pressure from Spalding's run of penalty corners.
"Spalding was relentless and they were able to convert," Garrison coach Traci Davis said. "It wasn't like we were trying to hold on. We were trying to get another goal, but we couldn't seem to get the momentum back in our favor enough to finish."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun