Effectively contained for most of Wednesday's game against John Carroll's determined defense, Mercy All-Metro forward Alexis Prior-Brown finally broke through using the limited space she was afforded.
Collecting a ball around the 18-yard mark along the left side, Prior-Brown fended off a tight mark and sent a shot that hit the far right post before going in to pull No. 2 Mercy even with the No. 4 Patriots with 4:55 left in regulation time.
After two 10-minute overtimes featured plenty of chances but no goals, the teams settled for a 1-1 tie in a key Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference game played at UMBC.
John Carroll (4-1-1, 0-1-1) had its gameplan working to perfection with the help of Leah Pace's goal in the game's eighth minute. She beat a defender to a through ball and then fired a shot just inside the left corner from 14 yards for a 1-0 advantage.
The Patriots possessed the ball for much of the first half — unable to convert a couple other scoring chances — and when the ball did find Prior-Brown at the other end, junior marking back Kiana Wright was right there, with help always close by from senior sweeper Shelby Foit.
After Mercy (5-1-1, 1-0-1) pressed early in the second half with no success, the Magic finally found the equalizer with Prior-Brown's 13th goal of the season.
"They had two and sometimes three players on her and she made somethingout of nothing," Mercy coach Doug Pryor said of Prior-Brown. "She's just a special player. She made us a play to give us a result."
The 20 minutes of extra time was largely controlled by the Patriots, but both teams had an opportunity to gain the win in the second overtime.
John Carroll junior forward Olivia DiFonso sent a rocket shot from the left side aimed at the right corner, but Mercy senior goalie Rachel Bourne (eight saves) dived to tip it away with under seven minutes to play.
For Mercy, which played the overtime without Prior-Brown due to a nagging ankle sprain that acted up following her goal, junior forward Zion Clarke slipped behind the Patriots' defense and cranked a shot from 15 yards that senior goalie Gina Maiorana (four saves) had to dive for with three minutes left. It was Maiorana's second game back following knee surgery early in the year.
Despite settling on the draw, John Carroll coach Gary Lynch was pleased with his team's performance.
"We're able to knock the ball around a whole lot different than year's past," Lynch said. "Our defense is strong, we can possess the ball some and get some good counter attacks, and we can compete. Also, having Gina back in goal is a huge difference."
No. 4 John Carroll 1, No. 2 Mercy 1 (2 OT)
Goals: JC – Pace; M – Prior-Brown.
Saves: JC – Maiorana 5; M – Bourne 8.
Half: JC, 1-0Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun