Hereford's field hockey fans serenaded the Bulls with cheers of "Three-peat!" in the waning seconds of Saturday's Class 2A state championship game at Washington College.
Kailyn Brandt had another phrase in her head.
The senior forward gave her team the lead early in the second half, but Kent Island responded with the equalizer a few minutes later.
"I always say afterward, 'Answer them,'" Brandt said.
And she did.
Brandt's second goal, with about 16 minutes remaining, stood as the game-winner and Hereford held off the Buccaneers, 2-1, for its third consecutive state title.
"If you can come right out and get another goal, that will" deflate the other team, Brandt said.
Hereford (15-3) led 1-0 just 54 seconds into the second half when Brandt converted from close range. Kent Island tied the score at the 25:57 mark during a penalty-corner attempt — the Bucs' second try in less than 30 seconds.
Junior midfielder Abby Carpenter knocked in a pass from Emily Keller, a junior forward, and the Bucs had momentum.
That is, until the Bulls got close to Kent Island's cage again about six minutes later.
Mackenzie McKillop, a sophomore forward, found Brandt for the go-ahead goal, and Hereford's defense did the rest.
Kent Island junior Hope Wobbe made 18 saves, keeping the game close while Hereford tallied 27 shots. But Brandt and the Bulls were simply too tough.
"We knew from the start that we wanted to end with another state championship," Brandt said. "I know it's extremely hard to do, and I think we just worked toward this goal at the end of the season."
Brandt finished the season with 15 goals and 11 assists, both team highs.
Hereford has nine state titles and five in the past 10 years, and coach Caitlin Duvall said a strong second half lifted the Bulls to the 2A crown.
"Kent Island had a great goalie, so we just kind of had to change our game plan a little bit and work the ball around the keeper," said Duvall, who won her 50th game as Bulls coach. "We had to execute those offensive opportunities. Every state championship game is very special, but we had a very experienced senior class who definitely know what it's like to be there. And they know what it takes to get to this point."