When Harford County rivals Bel Air and Fallston meet in girls soccer, the emotions and intensity are always cranked high.
Bel Air senior forward Lexi Kraemer was able to stay calm at the perfect time in Thursday’s game at Fallston.
With eight seconds left in the first overtime, the ball came to her foot just inside the 18-yard box. She settled, found an open spot and placed a shot there to send the No. 11 Bobcats to a 2-1 win over the No. 5 Cougars.
Bel Air improves to 2-2-1 on the season, while Fallston falls to 3-2.
“I just saw the ball right in front of me and I knew I needed to get my knee over it and strike it the right way. I looked up and found the goal and it was a perfect finish,” Kraemer said. “I didn’t even look at the time, I just knew I needed to get it in the goal. And then when I noticed the time I was like ‘Oh my God we did it!’”
The highly-anticipated game featured defending state champions. Bel Air finished with a perfect mark in claiming the Class 3A state crown with a 19-0 mark last season, while Fallston finished 19-1 in winning Class 2A.
Fallston’s only loss last season was 2-0 against the Bobcats on Oct. 7.
It had the Cougars determined and it showed in the first half as they dominated much of the play. But despite several set pieces – including long throws by senior right fullback Sydney Crofton and two corner kicks – the Bobcats defense stayed firm with the game scoreless at the half.
The Bobcats regrouped at the break, picked up their pace and seized momentum at the start of the second half.
Their extra pep paid off when Autumn Dougherty headed home a free kick sent in from midfield by Haley Seabolt to give the visitors a 1-0 lead with 25:45 to play.
The Cougars showed more urgency after falling behind and were able to find the equalizer when Maria Gentile headed home an assist from Crofton to tie the game at 1 with 7:59 to play.
In the end, Kraemer made it the Bobcats’ night – her goal a rebound following a shot from Dougherty.
“I know a lot of girls from Fallston and we’re like best friends and they’re one of our big rivals. It was a really tough game to play, but we knew we could do it if we just played our hardest and we went out there and gave 100 percent,” Kraemer said.
Said Fallston coach Mark Hannahs: “I said we had to watch [Kramer] throughout the whole day and we just let up with eight second left. It was two very good teams and I think we’ll both make long runs again in the playoffs.”